By Chris Cox
Cohesiveness has been a big positive for the Canton-Galva cheer squad this year according to head coach Jennifer Becker.
“This year has been really cohesive,” Becker says. “Their teamwork is really dynamic, and these girls have a really unique bond.”
Becker credits her captain Gracie Kidd for leading this squad and building that cohesion and bond among everyone on the squad.
“She has excellent leadership skills,” Becker says. “Since I am coaching alone this year, she’s been a great person to bounce ideas off of. She’s level-headed and she’s willing to get the job done. She knows her place on the team is to be the leader on the field. I have referred to her as my mini assistant.”
With Game Day being a recognized competition with the Kansas State High School Activities Association, Becker says that has driven her girls to work hard and show everyone how talented they are.
“We are not just about dressing up and putting on the uniform and wearing a cute bow,” Becker says. “These girls are all about getting in the gym and working out. I’ve got several in daily weightlifting classes at the high school. These girls love to stunt, and they know they won’t be allowed to stunt unless they have good core muscles and can do it several times in a row. These ladies never stop and want to keep working. They are hardcore athletes.”
With that said, Becker acknowledges that it’s not always easy to keep that drive going day in and day out, but she says her team is really good at picking each other up and making sure that one person’s bad day of practice doesn’t compound and snowball into multiple bad days.
“They do a nice job of lifting each other up and encouraging one another,” she says. “These girls are all hear for a reason. Even though they are tired, and we practice at 6:15 in the mornings, they want to be there.”
From injuries to reworking routines at the last minute to limited sleep the night before the state competition, Becker says one word sums up this group.
“Heart. They are 100 percent heart.”
The Canton-Galva Cheer squad includes Captain Gracie Kidd (Sr.), Taygen O’Hara (Sr.), Brecken Pearson (Jr.), Brinley Becker (So.), Emma Herrera (So.), Emily Lance (So.), Emma Anderson (Fr.), and Faith Laude (Fr.). SOAR the mascot is Xavier Westbrook (Sr.).