LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cathedral School cheerleading stunt groups lift flyers Eden McMillin, left, Anna Margaret Foster, center, and Anna Peyton Whittington as they perform their routine for friends and family Wednesday night. The squad will compete in the MHSAA state cheer championship Saturday in Jackson.

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Cathedral cheerleading: Lady Wave to face 6A schools in state championship Saturday

Published 12:15am Thursday, December 13, 2012

NATCHEZ — Up until this year, cheerleading squads in the MHSAA would compete against one another according to class.

But when the Cathedral High School cheerleading squad takes to the floor Saturday afternoon, their opponents will include Class 6A schools like South Panola, Gulfport and Olive Branch.

The Lady Green Wave will square off against 15 other teams in the “medium varsity” category at the MHSAA state cheer championship in Jackson. Cheerleading coach Lashon Brown said going against some of the biggest schools in Mississippi would be no easy task.

“I’m very nervous,” Brown said. “I think they’re nervous and anxious, and ready to do it and get it done.”

LAUREN WOOD | The Natchez Democrat — McMillin waves her pompons while performing a stunt as the squad practices their routine Wednesday night for the state championships on Saturday.

The girls will do a two-and-a-half-minute routine at the competition, and Brown said the routine makes the girls pretty exhausted afterward.

“It’s a workout,” Brown said. “Most of the girls are in other sports, so they’re pretty much already in shape. They’ve been practicing since August.”

Junior Alyssa Stewart said repetition was the biggest key in getting used to the physically draining routine.

“Practice, practice and more practice,” Stewart said. “We try to run through it over and over until we get it right.”

Senior Ashley Sandel, the squad’s captain, said she’s given her teammates positive reinforcement as they prepare for Saturday’s big meet.

“I’m anxious, but I have confidence in us,” Sandel said. “We’re good at performing under pressure. I’ve been on the team six years, and ever since I’ve been a high schooler, we’ve always done our best under pressure. I know we’re going to do awesome.”

Having a positive attitude is one of Sandel’s key attributes as a leader of the squad.

“I tell them everything is going to be OK,” Sandel said. “Some of them stress out and take it out on each other, but it’s all about working together as a team, because we do really well as a team.”

Stewart said she’s ready to take the floor, even if it means going against bigger teams.

“I’m nervous, but I think we have a good shot to do great,” Stewart said. “I really love our squad and want us to do good, because we’ve worked really hard for this, and I know we can.”

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Caroline Smith performs with the Cathedral School cheerleading squad as they run through their routine Wednesday night for the state championship on Saturday.

Despite any lingering nerves, Brown said she’s very proud of her squad for all the work they’ve put in.

“They get along very well, and they’ve been a pleasure to work with.

Several cheerleaders were selected as All-Stars. They include Sandel, Stewart, Abby Brown, Grace Anne White, Marli Vaughan and Lexi Coley.