While many high school athletic teams are preparing for spring conference tournaments, there is another group of successful local athletes that are often overlooked by many, the cheerleaders.

The Polytech cheerleading team recently won DCCA (Delaware Cheerleading Coaches Association) Championship honors for the second straight season. After taking home the championship in the Game Day Division last season, the Panthers took home the Small Varsity Division crown this time around.

For those that think cheerleading is simply rallying behind a team from the sidelines, it’s much more than that. This group of athletes works tirelessly, honing their crafts from the November to March.

“The team puts in a lot of work and long hours to perfect their completion routine. This team had a great work ethic and really had the drive and desire to win the state title,” said Polytech head coach Jen Carpenter. “They conditioned during the fall season to build up their endurance and stamina, while also having daily practices for games and cheering for Friday night football games. Once fall season came to an end, they began learning their competition routine in mid-November;  we practiced four days a week including Saturdays from November through March.”

To be considered for awards among the DCCA, the Panthers are judged by an approved score sheet. The team is required to perform a two and a half minute routine, and the scores are judged in six categories, cheer, dance, stunts, tumbling, jumps, and motions. Depending on the difficulty level, the team receives a score in each category, as well as additional points for the execution of those skills.

The success of the team over the past two years speaks volumes to the kind of hard work and dedication put in by the competitors and the coaching staff.

“Many of our cheerleaders have dedicated a lot of year to competition cheerleading,” said Carpenter. “Some of our cheerleaders began competing at a very young age for various Pop Warner and All-Star teams, and others began competing in middle school with their home districts.”

The majority of the Panthers’ team has been together since last season, and with many returning for next season you can look forward to more hardware coming Polytech’s way.

“We have been very fortunate to have such a great group of athletes who together have created a unique, diverse, and dynamic team,” said Carpenter. “They have great character and attitudes; they’ve been a wonderful group of students to work with. These cheerleaders have a lot of heart and dedication. They are all student athletes and maintained good grade point averages, while also cheering on their school at games during the week and attending practices and competitions on the weekends. We’re very excited for the new season and look forward to what next year’s competition season has in store for us.”