Cheerleaders are back for 2016

New SHHS cheerleader coach, Heather Burns

New SHHS cheerleader coach, Heather Burns

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By Staff

After a one year hiatus over 20 girls have tried out and 15 have been selected to be members of the 2016 Strath Haven High School Cheerleader Squad. In addition to a new squad there is a new coach as well.

We had the pleasure of spending a little time with new cheerleader coach, Heather Burns, as she was preparing her Strath Haven Middle School math classroom. This is her third year at Strath Haven Middle School.

Coach Burns has 13 years of experience in cheerleading coaching with 10 years of experience with the local Rose Tree Colts. She also coached cheerleading at Penncrest  and Marple Newtown high schools.

Two high school seniors came to Coach Burns in June and asked if she would be willing to coach a new cheerleading squad. She told them she was willing but the girls had to go out and recruit at least 15-20 students who were willing to become cheerleaders. The girls did exactly that and try-outs were held over the summer.

When attending tryouts Coach Burns looks for technique, motions, energy, spirit and strong voices to carry over a crowd.

Several of the girls, in addition to be cheerleaders this year, will also be participating in fall sports which makes scheduling cheerleading practices more difficult.

Cheerleading has become a very competitive and physical sport in the last ten years. Stunts (that’s when the girls leap, jump and do high flying maneuvers) have become very complex and very difficult.  Many of these new cheerleaders have little if any cheerleading experience so Coach Burns is going to work on the basics of the program with the girls cheering at football and basketball games this year and next year she hopes to start a more competitive programs with the girls (and maybe boys) moving on to competitions during the school year.

As any student athlete the cheerleaders are expected to maintain their classroom work while they attend practices and cheerleading events. The members of the squad are taught that they are role models for the younger children in the crowd and must always be aware of their behavior during the games as well as anytime they wear their uniforms or practice shirts which proudly proclaim them to be Strath Haven cheerleaders.

Coach Burns is excited about this new squad. The girls are excited and she has great parent involvement which is a big part of any programs success.  Coach Burns strongest satisfaction is seeing  the members progress week-to-week and then year-to-year.  She hopes to create a dynamic, athletic group this year as a basis for a strong foundation for Strath Haven cheerleaders for many years to come.