Cheerleaders begin competing
BY MARTHA BENNETT ON FEBRUARY 21, 2014
Rose’s new cheerleading coach takes a hopeful squad to its first season of competition after four years. With constant change in leadership and just recently losing their fall season coach in December, new coach Jessee Rigsby is helping lead this squad to a new and exciting experience.
“I’m proud of us because we’ve come so far,” senior spotter Mara Mackenzie said. “People have had an opinion about Rose cheerleading and I feel like we’ve changed that a little bit this year.”
Having five coaches in the past four years, finding a comfortable routine has been difficult for Rose’s cheerleading team. Introducing Rigsby as the new leader has brought in a new attitude and work ethic that works for this spring 2013-2014 squad.
After hearing other Pitt County schools like D.H Conley and South Central participate in cheer competitions, the Rose cheer team is more eager to become part of the same winning traditions of these rival high schools.
“Being new to the challenge, I think our team would be happy with placing [anywhere],” said Mackenzie.
In the past, the cheerleading team has had coaches that have either not recommended competition, or have just not had the desire to take the team to these events. With a fresh take on this year’s squad, competition can only be a new learning experience to inspire the team.
“She definitely pushes us a lot more and has more faith in us than previous coaches we’ve had,” Mackenzie says. “She knows a lot and our team seems to work with her nicely.”
Graduating from high school not too long ago, Rigsby can relate to the girls and share more of her recent experiences from being on competitive cheer teams. Lifting this team to higher goals, Rigsby teaches a new confidence and a motive to make this spring semester a strong one.
“She’s not just a new coach, but a new friend,” junior flyer Kiuana Phillips said. “Since she’s younger she knows more modern [styles] and can teach us a lot more things than other coaches have.”
With the Rose cheer squad having a reputation for its constant change in coaches, it has been hard to keep up. Five coaches in the past four years doesn’t seem to bring any sense of tradition or consistency to the squad; making it hard to adjust and promote the team to the best it can be. But by Rigsby showing great promise, there is new hope for Rose cheerleading.
“We now look serious as a team," Phillips said. "We can now [work together] and be taken as a cheerleading team. Not just a group of girls supporting our high school.”
After losing their coach abruptly before Christmas break, Rose’s squad had lost its ambition in making the spring semester a cheerful one. For seniors especially, it was nerve wracking to find a new coach in time; let alone someone that could relate, motivate and challenge the team.
Only just two months into having Rigsby’s leadership, the team now gets to go to competition for the first time.
“I feel like we’re really coming together and that we are all excited to be part of this team,” Phillips said.
The Rose cheer team will attend its second competition of the year in New Bern, Feb. 26. Although the cheer team is feeling anxious for what this change will bring, the team is feeling stronger than they have in a while.
“I’m really proud of being apart of this team,” Mackenzie says. “I feel that we’ve helped change the [image] of Rose cheer in a good way and it’s giving the team a bit more something to look forward to.”
With more spirit to their step and a new reputation to build on, this squad has nowhere to go but up. Team members of all grade levels are excited to recruit for next years squad with the hopes that competition will become a regular extra activity outside of supporting Rose Athletics. The cheer team hopes that by opening a new door with competition and a stronger coach, it will instill a different age and reputation for the squads to come.