School Bulletin: Cheer team has high hopes for second consecutive trip to Nationals

School Bulletin: Cheer team has high hopes for second consecutive trip to Nationals

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Racine cheer team plans to leave it all on the mat at this year's National High School Cheerleading Championship, and for the first time in more than a decade, St. Catherine's High School has a co-ed squad.

"We have high hopes," Anni Prideaux, who coaches alongside her mother Lori, says. "As a small school and having cheer not be as recognized as other sports in the school, this is huge."

This is the second year in a row St. Catherine's has qualified for Nationals, but last year the team was smaller -- just seven girls.

"It was the unknown last year," Varsity Head Coach Lori Prideaux says. "We feel as a coaching staff, we have a better chance with having the guys on the team."

The coaches say the boys did have a late start because they were on the football team this fall, but they all pushed themselves to qualify for Nationals at a big meet in December. The staff says this year's team has also embraced the more dynamic routines and challenging stunts.

"The boys do a lot of one-on-one stunting so they will be the only one holding up a girl in the air," Coach Anni says. "So, it's very, very different than what we're used to. We're also different where we have baskets. The boys hold the girls in their hands and toss them really high in the air and then catch them."

The tricks are gravity defying, but the coaches are also prioritizing schoolwork. Coach Lori often hosts study sessions before practices, and building character is also important.

"Obviously you want to be a great athlete, but you also want them to be a kind human being too," Amanda McCauley, a poms coach and former St. Catherine's student says.

The coaches also say this current team is helping break stigmas around the sport, and the staff have turned into cheerleaders themselves for this special squad.

"We have a great group of girls and guys, and they're families are very supportive," Coach Lori says. "It's a lot of hard work, a lot of teamwork, and it's a lot of trust."

"Now we're looking at it like we may actually have a shot to make it to the semi-finals. Or the finals. You never know," Coach Anni says.

The team is actively fundraising to help offset the costs of the trip to Nationals coming up on February 8th. If you'd like to help the St. Catherine's Cheer & Poms Team, reach out to Head Coach Lori Prideaux at [email protected]

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