As the winter sport season comes to a close, so does the first season of the new Head Cheer and Dance Coach Jordan Smith, who took over from Mikaelah Molifua last month.
“I had previously volunteered coaching stunting for some of the members of the current team. So, it was an honor and a privilege to be able to come back to help them crush it this competition season. It has been fun to watch this team grow and start scratching the surface of reaching its full potential. How far they have come in a little over a month is truly impressive,” Smith said.
On the cheerleading side, Hastings started slowly, finishing last out of four teams at the Doane Invite with just 42 points. Three days later however, HC responded by defeating Doane 64-61.
“When Coach Jordan came in, he believed in us and showed us that even though we are an all-girl team we can still compete against the co-ed teams on an even playing field.” said Junior Cheer Captain Jessica Hoffman.
On the dance side, HC had a tougher season due to fewer dancers. With not having six dancers, the minimum full squad number, HC has been subject to five-point deductions at each routine. In having fewer participants, the team has been forced to focus on making their routines as clean as possible.
“We have practiced our competition routine over and over in order to be consistent. With there being a low number of girls on our team and injuries recurring over the year, we have had to be flexible for every performance,” said Sophomore Dance Captain Brianna Cobb.
Both teams have gone through their routines countless times, according to Smith. Each time, they are tweaking and fixing the small things to set them apart from everyone else.
“The team has always had the skills and talent. So, really cleaning things up and the little attention to detailed things have made the biggest impact. Mental toughness and doing the little things right have been the key for us this season,” Smith said.
The cheerleaders have carried their success from January into February, taking third out of six teams in the Concordia University Nebraska (CUNE) Invite, second out of seven in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Championship and first place in the CUNE Triangular.
“We have practiced our group stunts and our pyramids to get them consistent even when we’re tired. We run our routine full-out at least three times every practice to make sure we are consistently hitting every stunt,” Hoffman said.
In February, the dancers have continued making strides. HC
took fourth out of 10 teams in the
CUNE Invite, winning 61-60 at York College and took fifth out of 10
at the GPAC Championships before losing 68-60 against CUNE last Wednesday.
“I think we’ve improved our team chemistry and adaptability to new circumstances. We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity this season. Our expectations are to have all six girls out there and to execute the routine to our full capability,” Cobb said.
HC will have extra time to prepare for Cheer and Dance Regionals, which will be hosted by Morningside College on Feb. 29.
“Our goal is to show everyone we aren’t done yet and to make it to Nationals,” Smith said.
If either HC team is victorious at the Cheer and Dance Regionals, they would advance to the fourth Annual National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Competitive Cheer and Dance Championships, on March 13-14 in Davenport, Iowa.