The Lamar High School cheerleaders attended cheerleading camp June 24-27 at Country Club Hotel and Spa in Lake Ozark and returned home with more awards than they have ever received, making this camp the most successful camp in school history.
For the fourth consecutive year the squad and several individuals earned a variety of awards. This year the squad had the goal of once again earning a spirit stick on the first day of camp. The spirit stick, created by the National Cheerleading Association (NCA), is presented to teams showing the most sincere spirit and enthusiasm for the day. The NCA staff considers the team’s overall cooperation, discipline, leadership, safety and respect for one another and other teams. This is the second year in a row that the squad attained their goal with a first day spirit stick! The squad also received the S.A.F.E Award for exemplifying excellent spotting skills in stunting. Individually, seniors Shelby Wynn and Kylie Riegel earned All-American nominations on the first day. Shelby’s nomination was in dance and Kylie’s was in jumps.
The team evaluations on day two focused on game-day performances. The team won superior ribbons for their game-day cheer and the game-day chant. Superior ribbons are given to a team who displays strong technique, leads the crowd well and performs with no noticeable mistakes. The LHS cheerleaders were also awarded the Herkie Team Award. This award goes to the squad that best exemplifies the qualities on which NCA was founded and continues to teach today which includes the characteristics of leadership, values, teamwork and sportsmanship. This award was voted on by the other cheerleaders at camp making it an extra special honor since it was decided by their peers. The team also earned a Technical Excellence Award in Motions for displaying superior skills during their NCA evaluations.
Day two ended with the team earning their second camp spirit stick. Sophomore Madie Baldwin earned an All-American nomination for her tumbling skills on this day, and Riegel earned a Pin-It Forward Award for her leadership skills. Then Kylie watched for another camper that demonstrated leadership skills during the week and was able to award a pin to that cheerleader on the last day.
Juniors Jerica Stahl and Callie Burgess earned All-American nominations on the third day for dance and stunting, respectively. This year NCA did not have final evaluations for performance cheers and chants on the third evening to allow teams extra time to prepare for the final day and for individual cheerleaders to compete in the All-American try-out process. All-American nominees Wynn, Riegel and Burgess tried out for the All-American team. Each cheerleader had to individually complete three advanced jumps, spirit and/or tumble in, perform the camp cheer and spirit out. The cheerleaders then earned their third spirit stick of the week.
The last day of camp was filled with final evaluations and competitions. Lamar varsity received superior ribbons during the final evaluations in the performance category for their chant and cheer. All teams then began mentally preparing for the Top Champion Chant and either the Top Game-Day or Top Performance team competitions, with one trophy being awarded to the top team in each category. Lamar competed against other squads in the champion chant and game-day categories. There was little surprise when the girls were named the top Champion Chant team due to their excellent chant technique and motions during their performance.
The big surprise came when Lamar was called once again to receive the Game Time Top Team trophy as it is not common for one team to win more than one of the categories and the awards for Lamar did not end just yet. The team earned the Herkie T.E.A.M. plaque, which is presented to the squad that shows true team spirit, unity and leadership throughout the week; they also received another Technical Excellence Award in Motions, a National Championship bid and their fourth spirit stick to bring home to Lamar High School.
Riegel and Wynn were named to the All-American Team by demonstrating excellent cheerleading skills during the All-American Team tryout. Coaches Diane Riegel and Kim O’Sullivan each earned individual coaching awards. Coach Diane received the Herkie Coaches Award and Coach Kim received the award for being the most congenial coach at camp. Both coaches also received their coaching credentials from the National Cheerleaders Association. The final honor of the day came when Kylie Riegel was invited to apply for a NCA staff position next summer.
During the three and a half days of camp these girls are mentally and physically challenged. They are cheering, jumping, stunting and dancing almost non-stop from 8:30 in the morning until 9 p.m. They learned multiple cheers and chants, the spirit dance, as well as the optional advanced dance, pom dance and hip-hop dance and practiced stunt progressions from novice to advanced level stunting. In addition to their time spent learning new material, the cheerleaders also have to fit in practice time to prepare for daily evening evaluations and final evaluations of the newly learned material.
Coach Diane and Coach Kim are proud of the spirit and enthusiasm the girls demonstrated under these extreme conditions. They are looking forward to working with this talented group of young ladies as they cheer for and support the Lamar Tigers. The coaches also want to express their thanks to the parents and community for their continual support of the cheer program. Go Tigers!
Pictured are, back row, left to right, Cheer Buddy Alannah, NCA staff; Tori Conkle, Shelby Wynn, Hattie Gilkey, Tristen Petersen, Kylie Riegel, Taylor Fanning; front row, Kinley Roth, Alyssa Fanning, Madie Baldwin, Jerica Stahl, Callie Burgess and Danica Bass.