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NHS cheerleaders 'having fun' learning hip-hop routine

Cary Ashby • Aug 4, 2018 at 10:00 PM

The Norwalk cheerleaders learned five dances, three cheers and six sideline chants during their two-day camp this week.

Also, the varsity squad is learning a hip-hip dance routine.

“They are doing a really good good job picking it up. … They are having fun with that,” coach Kristie Wert said. “A lot of the girls are outside of their comfort zone, but are working hard to pick stuff up.”

Three of the squad members — senior Kristina Toczek, sophomore Madison Shutt and freshman Isabelle Borgeson — have competitive dance experience from Northstar Dance Center, which has studios in Norwalk and Huron. 

Shutt, a co-captain, said that training has been an asset. She was excited when she heard the news about the hip-hop routine.

“It actually helps a lot. You get comfortable counting to music and moving your body in different ways,” said the daughter of Ryan and Amy who has been a varsity cheerleader for two years.

Senior Alyssa Faley, one of the captains, said she’s “personally not a real good hip-hop dancer, but it’s been really good and fun” to learn. What she’s realized is that in cheerleading, her motions have to be tight while hip-hop requires her to move a little looser.

Now in her fourth year on the varsity squad, the daughter of Andrew and Melissa said she hopes to help bring a positive attitude and be a good leader for the rest of the team.

Once again the cheerleaders received instruction from college students. Mackenzie Eason, a Miami University sophomore, and Kaysia Moore, a University of Akron sophomore, are working a summer job through the Universal Cheerleading Association. They worked with the varsity and junior varsity squads.

Assisting Wert for the second year is Steffany Osborne, who graduated from Norwalk in 2008. She cheered for five years at Bowling Green State University.

Wert said last year, the collegiate instructors introduced dance-oriented skills, but at this camp, the NHS cheerleaders are learning more traditional skills.

“I think the big emphasis is new material that fits our style,” she said. “We definitely want to go back to state for the competition team. For our sideline squad, we want to engage the crowd (more).”

While Wert said the cheerleaders have done a good job energizing the student section, she wants to see more interaction from the parents and community members.

“They are doing a good job projecting their spirit through their facials and voices,” Wert added.

The cheerleaders had the opportunity to audition for all-American status during camp.

“Tryouts were held during camp on Tuesday. They had to do a cheer and a dance that we learned on Monday as well as their best jump,” Wert said.

Sophomore Brooke Lau, who earned jayvee all-American, has an opportunity to cheer in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving parade.

“(Five) varsity all-Americans have been offered the opportunity to cheer in London,” Wert said.

Those cheerleaders are: Faley, Shutt, Toczek, senior Alyssa Walsh and junior Aniston Chaffins.

“Varsity was also selected as an all-American squad with the opportunity to to perform in the pregame of the Citrus Bowl,” Wert said.

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