As last year’s cheer season ended, the Waldron High School cheer captains and coaches had a decision to make. The Bulldog cheer squad graduated 10 seniors which included all of their top cheerleaders. This would be a complete rebuild if they wanted to remain in the performance division of competition or they would have to move to the newer game day division. After mulling over the pros and cons, Waldron decided to make the move to the game day cheer division.
Changing to a completely new type of competition was quite the task for all involved. Everyone from the cheerleaders to the coaches themselves had to learn new techniques, new formats, and a new style to learn and attempt to perfect. This is competition, not just some pom pom hip hip hooray stuff so everyone had to learn and learn fast.
With a lot of new faces, Waldron knew nothing would come easily. The squad hosted Brian Bridges for their choreography clinic on July 28th and their work began. Long and hard practices ensued with everyone busting their rears to not only get ready but also to get ready quickly. The Waldron Cheer squad lucked into three individual competitions to help them gain experience for what the big stage would hold for them. Unfortunately, lady luck turned her back on the Bulldogs as two of the three competitions were canceled due to scheduling conflicts. This left the Waldron Cheer team only able to make one, count that one, competition.
If they thought luck wasn’t on their side, they were right. Instead, they had a work ethic that trumped luck as they attended the Southern Spirit Competition held at Alma High School finishing first in their division and taking home the judge’s award for crowd effective cheer. With a perfect slate of going one and one in the record books, the Bulldogs then went back to work focused on the state competition.
The states cheer competition was held Saturday, December 21 at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs. The Gameday format involved each team performing in three different areas: band dance, crowd leading, and fight song. Preliminary rounds were held and the six highest combined scores advance to finals.
To the surprise of everyone but Waldron, the Bulldogs advanced to finals. Also advancing to finals were the 2018 Defending State Champions Rivercrest, 2018 State Runner-Up Jessieville along with teams from Hackett, Parkers Chapel, and Genoa Central. Although the Rivercrest Colts were named 2019 State Champions, the Runner-Up Bulldogs more than accomplished their goal for the season.
Coach Crystal Lipham said “Our goal for the season was to at least get to finals. I feel like we shattered that goal! Not only did we make finals but we took the comments from the preliminary rounds and made the necessary adjustments to bring home the Runner-Up trophy!”