Flu or no flu, OHS cheerleaders bound for nationals next week

Published 2:01 am Saturday, February 2, 2019

Opp High School cheer sponsor Lorie Harrison said the flu won’t stop OHS cheerleaders from competing well in the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.

Each of the cheerleaders and their sponsor have suffered through the flu in the past week.

Nonetheless, the team will travel to Orlando, Fla, next week to compete in NHSCC for the fourth consecutive year. Earlier this year, the team won their third consecutive state title.

“They have definitely been practicing hard,” Harrison said. “I think that if they carry on how they are practicing and if they can carry it over to the competition then they will do well. There is a lot of potential on this team.”

The girls have been preparing by practicing every day for three and a half to four hours.

“I push them pretty hard with these practices,” Harrison said. “We practice on the weekends as well and we traveled to Birmingham this past weekend to practice with a B Rock choreographer for a national’s cleanup at Thompson High School.”

Harrison said that traveling to Florida again and keeping up the tradition of competing at a high level is exciting.

“It is a lot of hard work,” Harrison said. “The girls really have to be dedicated. Most cheer squads are done right after football season, then they can relax a little and focus on basketball games, but with us, after football season, that’s when our season really begins. When football ends, that is when their lives get stressful.”

Harrison said that having the flu has been a set back because of a loss of practice time.

“They have really had to push themselves,” Harrison said. “I mean, we didn’t practice Monday, due to sickness, then on Tuesday my assistant coach practiced with them because I had the flu. Then Wednesday came around and it was like, hey, you have got to show up and we have to move on. We are having to make up those practice days this weekend.”

People outside of the community of Opp usually associate the city with their cheerleading program, Harrison said.

“I think people in the City of Opp recognize cheerleading because our cheerleaders are so well rounded,” Harrison said. “They try to not just focus on competition. They try to support every sport and if they can be involved in something then they will do it. They are just good girls all around and they go above and beyond in everything they do.”

The seniors on the cheer squad have won three titles since their freshman year.

“It is very emotional to talk about the seniors,” Harrison said. “I love these girls and they know that. They are very special because they are all just great leaders, all four of them. They will definitely be missed.”

The cheer team will leave Opp for Orlando on Thursday. The competition can be live streamed from Varsity T.V.

The top five teams will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2.

The OHS cheerleaders will compete in both the traditional and game day categories.