Leiawna Varian gets lifted by (from left) Makayla Hitchcock, Paige Vance and Skyelar Luthy for a stunt during Future CHS Cheerleader Camp on Aug. 21.

After finishing fourth in the 3A All-Girls Stunt division at state last year, the Cody cheerleaders are excited for a new year and a chance to do even better.

“We’re motivated,” senior Skyelar Luthy said. “We were just two points away from second.”

Senior Kaden Shirley agreed.

“We’ll start stunting early because we’re hoping to finish higher,” she said.

Last week, the cheerleaders hadn’t officially started practice, but were still busy putting on a youth cheer camp.

“They’re really fun and since we’ve been working with them – they’re a lot better,” Luthy said.

The girls that participate in the camp perform with the Fillies during halftime of the first football game.

“They’re excited to do it,” senior Makayla Hitchcock said.

Practice officially started Tuesday and coach Brittany Schumacher said the first week will include refreshing sideline cheers and dances.

“We will also begin working on our homecoming routine that will be performed at halftime,” she said.

There are 14 out for squad, a mix of newcomers and returners.

“It’s a really interesting split between returners and newbies,” Shirley said. “It’s different teaching the new people, but it’s a good learning experience.”

Returners to this year’s team are the three seniors, junior Leiawna Varian, and sophomores Paige Vance, Maddie Rhodes, Alex Wilkins and Evynn Roberson.

“My returners bring experience and knowledge to our team,” Schumacher said. “This is the largest group of freshmen that I have had and it is great having a group of returners that they can look up to and learn from.”

There are six freshmen on the team – Alicia Parsons, Blair Brengle, Trinity Wageman, Lindsay Arnold, Samantha Struemke and Layla Sizemore.

“The new athletes on this team bring great enthusiasm and a willingness to learn,” Schumacher said. “They are excited for this new season and are eager to put in 100 percent to give this team everything they need.”

The group has already done some team bonding, including a team sleepover.

“A lot of seniors graduated last year, but we have a lot of potential,” Luthy said.

The cheer season is a long one, starting with football in September and going through basketball in March.

“I like doing the short cheers because the crowd really gets into it,” Hitchcock said. “They know all of them and when we do ‘Marching’ they all go insane.”

The squad also is ready to continue stunting.

“We have been fortunate to gain great athletes that will add an advantage to our team,” Schumacher said. “I expect this team to keep the energy high in the stands throughout the games.”

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