Preparing for podium: ACHS cheer is ready for state

The ACHS cheer team qualified for state and is practicing harder than ever before.


Laila Salata

The ACHS varsity cheer taking the mat at the 2023 sectionals on Jan. 28.

Qualifying for state is an accomplishment in itself, and so is making it to the state finals. The Antioch Community High School cheer team won their sectional competition, which landed them a bid to state. This team has qualified for state 17 times, progressed to the state finals 13 times, received third place three times, second place two times and in 2020, became IHSA’s state champions.

Senior Fiona Serifov is a bronze state medalist as of 2022 and is looking to make an even bigger impact and go for the gold in 2023.

“Our mindset is better knowing that we want more than last year, we are willing to push ourselves a lot harder than we were last year because we know what it takes,” Serifov said.

The mental aspect of cheerleading can make or break a team. Without diligence and mental toughness, a team can not live out their aspirations. To help prepare for state, the team has written down their fears and burned them to hypothetically get rid of them. This method is supposed to clear the mind and all doubtful thoughts.

“Burning our fears and visualing ourselves hitting our routine makes us believe that we have what it takes to get the job done,” freshman cheerleader Morgan Schneider said.

Joining a team with a coveted standard and reputation is hard, but the freshmen on the team, Schneider and Maya Rodriquez, have lived up to the challenge and persevered. The freshmen are eager and excited for state because they have never experienced anything like the roaring arena. It is stressful, but they have adapted to the challenge.

“Before state, and every competition, we will play games before we walk onto the mat to calm ourselves down. This will be useful at state because of the high tension and pressure back stage,” Rodriquez said.

The ACHS varsity cheerleading team is looking forward to Friday, as they will compete in r2the Grossinger Motors Arena at 10:35 A.M. and hope to make day two on Saturday to conclude their 2023 winter season and fight for a spot on the podium.