Starting a sport at a young age can be beneficial for any athlete, no matter the sport. For seventh grader Lauren Deguzman, cheer filled her life since the second grade and she is hoping to continue for many more years to come. This past year, Deguzman was a part of the Antioch Vikings seventh and eighth grade team that placed third at state. Throughout her many years as a Viking cheerleader, she learned a number of lessons that will be useful in and out of cheerleading.
“The vikings program encourages me to stay active and trains me for things we might eventually do in high school,” Deguzman said. “Not only is the physical training beneficial, but I also have created friendships that will carry into my high school years.”
Even though she still has one more year left in the Antioch Vikings feeder program, Deguzman is already preparing for the high school tryout process. By taking three tumbling classes a week, Deguzman is hoping her hard work and determination will pay off in the future.
Transitioning from a feeder program into the high school level can be difficult for some athletes, and can create a high level of nerves for incoming freshman. For the cheerleading team specifically, their season is longer than any other sport—equivalent only to dance. Not only does the tryout process begins in May for the athletes wanting to cheer during the football season, but the process also begins again in October for the athletes wanting a spot on the competition team. This is something that will be completely new for the vikings cheerleaders, considering they are just placed onto a team and the tryout process does not take place.
“My teen coaches have always told me that high school cheer will always be harder than vikings,” Deguzman said. “I’ve always been told that high school cheer expects a lot and you have to be mentally and physically prepared for what they throw at you.”
Making the decision to start cheerleading is something that Deguzman will never regret. Not only has she made friendships and developed trustworthy relationships with her teammates over the years, but she has pushed herself to do things she thought weren’t possible. Though still a seventh grader, Deguzman is looking forward to bettering herself in order to become a Sequoit cheerleader in the future, and experience everything it has to offer.