The Weber High Warrior cheerleading team can add a new notch to their belt: State Champion.
In late January, the cheer team swept through their region competition to earn a ticket to the State show at Copper Hills High School. Judging came down to dancing, tumbling, stunting, pyramids, crowd involvement, overall execution, and even their use of signs. The teams were to perform the same routine from region, but due to last-minute injuries, Weber had to adjust. Naturally, the team was nervous for state, and the final results. Michelle Meyer, head coach, said, “When they introduced this team as First in State, we all about lost our minds.”
Rilei Woodward, team captain, takes it a step further. “State is a huge accomplishment,” says Woodward, “but I think working together, learning to come together, and doing it for each other feels way better than any trophy or title.”
Maureen Grover, another coach, said, “I think the advantage we had came down to three things: difficulty of our routine, strong character from this year’s challenges, and team unity.” Grover noted that because Weber’s routine was the most difficult of all teams at regional and state, “our point total was higher to begin with, which gave us a little cushion to make a few, small errors.” On top of that, Grover adds, “This team is extremely talented with their tumbling and stunting, which allows us to do hard things.”
And the group did hard things. Despite multiple concussions, a broken arm, a broken foot, a pinched nerve, and sprained ankles throughout the season, the girls kept working. Every other day, the team begins practice at 6:30 AM until 9. Every Thursday and Saturday are practices, too. During the summer, it’s 3X/week for four hours a day. They compete in their own sport, but also are asked to support the other team’s and programs at Weber High.
What keeps them going? They simply love it.
“I love being on the team,” says junior Sadee Henry. “Ever since I was little I wanted to be on the team.” Bryli Kimber, sophomore, agrees. “Weber High cheer is a family. Once you make the team, you are a part of the family. All the girls have your back.” Woodward adds, “Being part of the team feels like a blessing. We have all grown so close – it’s like having 23 sisters who are always there for you.” Brinlee Johansen, sophomore, adds, “I don’t know where I’d be without cheer in my life. All the girls are kind and treat everyone like sisters.”
Coaches see this love and believe it played a role in the team’s success. Grover says, “This team has been amazing to coach. Even though we have been through so much as a team, they have been the easiest and kindest to work with. They always come to practice ready to work and with smiles on their faces.”
Meyer adds, “This is the kindest team we have had in my four years of coaching. The girls really have each other’s backs.”
Kindness, Meyer continues, is something she stresses the most. She expects them to be kind to everyone, in and out of cheer. “Nobody will remember if you are Homecoming Queen, scored so many touchdowns, or were a cheerleader at your high school. They will, however, remember if you are kind. That’s the most important thing I want this team to take away from the year.”