MISHAWAKA—The competitive cheer team kicked off its season in a fiery way. The team started its season at Indiana Wesleyan where they finished fifth in both rounds. Despite an unimpressive finish placement wise, they finished both rounds with respectable scores compared to previous seasons. For instance, in the second round the Pilots posted a score of 68.73, which was good enough for the eighth-best score in school history.
They pulled that momentum into their second competition of the season at Mt. Vernon with first place placements in both rounds. They finished with scores of 70.23 in round one and a score of 73.78 in round two. Their second-round score was the second-highest score in school history.
“I think we have all been putting in the work,” said Faith Livensparger, sophomore. “Both Coach Lucy and Coach Josh have worked so hard to build this program from recruiting to developing us as cheerleaders. I also think that having Coach Lucy for her second season as our head coach has given us some continuity as a team this year.”
With their first-place placements this past weekend, it was the first time that the Bethel Competitive Cheer team finished with a first-place finish in school history. Their previous best finish was second place, but they had never been able to clear that first-place hurdle.
“It’s huge! It’s awesome!” Livensparger said. “It just feels awesome to know that we’re a part of building the cheer program at Bethel.”
In previous seasons, the Bethel competitive cheer team has struggled to put up quality seasons, but in her second season, Head Coach Lucy Phipps seems to have turned the tide on the competitive cheer program. They were able to retain much of their roster that put forth a strong effort to end the 2020 season. They finished the season at the NAIA Northeast Regional Qualifier and posted their highest score in team history with a 73.87. Heading into this year, the team was able to bring in a freshmen class that included some tumblers. The team was previously unable to include many tumblers in their routines. The additional tumblers bring more points, and more points bring higher scores for the team.
“I think we are a lot closer as a team,” Livensparger said. “We look like we actually enjoy performing, compared to last season, where we weren’t as close, and this correlates to our performances”.
Like every other team in America, the group has had to deal with the issues that COVID-19 brings to our everyday lives. From being adjusted practices to a shortened season, they could not escape the virus.
“Having COVID, and the challenges, that have come with it, it has helped us grow stronger as a team,” Livensparger said. “I also think it has made us work harder because we do not have as many competitions, and we have shorter practices.”
As for the rest of this season, the cheer team has a limited number of competitions left. As of now, a conference decision has yet to be made on any national tournaments. The Pilots will, however, be able to compete at the Crossroads League tournament on Feb. 27.
For more information on Bethel athletics and the cheer team, visit www.bupilots.com.