AHS Spiritline

AHS Spiritline

Arcadia High School’s pom and cheer squads are headed to the national competitions this year, after both teams placed in the top three at the qualifying competitions in early 2022. 

In addition, Arcadia High’s cheer team came in second place – out of 22 teams – during the Game Day State Competition in December. This was the first year the cheer team participated in the event. 

“They were truly proud of their second-place finish at Game Day State,” Katie Gilbert, mother of freshman Lizzy Gilbert and senior May Gilbert said. “This is the first season that our team has competed in Game Day. They worked so hard on their routine and kept refining it after competing at the national qualifiers.”

The pom team received third place at the qualifier competition and second place out of 16 teams at the national competition in January. They will head to State in March. 

“We felt it was the best we had performed the routine, and to place that high among such great competition was amazing,” Margy Hooker, mother of senior Jules Johns, said. “The competitions are nerve-wracking for both the parents and the team. They can focus all that nervous energy into the routine, but the parents have to sit in the stands and yell their hearts out for the team.”

Moriah Johnson has coached the cheer team for the past three years. The group usually hires a choreographer for routines but this time, it was all up to Johnson and her assistant coach. 

“We spent several days creating and refining the routine until we had a piece that the girls and we liked,” Johnson said. “Coming in second was exciting. It felt great to know our hard work paid off, especially since we are new to the Game Day competition!” 

Former Arizona Cardinals cheerleader Davis Berryhill coaches the pom team. 

While the national competitions are a big deal, the teams have set their sights on the State Championships in early March. 

“Pom is hoping to defend their State Championship title from 2021, and cheer is hoping to return to the top after winning the State Championship in 2020,” Gilbert said. “These are talented teams, and they want to continue to build their legacy.”

The pom and cheer teams practice four to five times a week, usually starting at 5:30 a.m., over a 10-month season. Practice is becoming even more critical as they move into the national and state competitions. 

“They practice in between getting ready for assemblies, football halftime routines, and learning sideline cheers and dances,” Gilbert shared. “There isn’t another group of athletes like them at Arcadia. They work hard supporting the other Titan teams (football, basketball, volleyball), on top of performing in assemblies and competing in their competitions. They’re remarkable!”

Arcadia’s pom and cheer teams also held a Future Titan Night in January as an opportunity to teach and showcase their programs to future generations. Students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade were encouraged to come to cheer and dance with Arcadia High’s award-winning teams.