Preparing Ahead of Time

Next year’s senior cheerleaders are looking forward to the upcoming season.


Danielle Hitson

Varsity cheer team having the most normal season as they can.

Mary Marzula, Staff Writer

Junior cheerleader Madison Shanahan was surprised when she first walked into an open practice gym and was considered a senior.

“It’s crazy to believe,” she said. “I still feel like a freshman because of the past year with the virus.”

As spring is around the corner, the North Allegheny cheerleading squad is starting to hold open gyms. They’re held for a few hours on Mondays and allow prospective athletes to perfect their skills before tryout in mid-May.

During open gyms, the coaches are looking to see what seniors are going to step up and make the team come together for the upcoming season. Seniors are expected to cheer on underclassmen, help out with anything needed, and get everyone ready to work before the coaches show up. 

“It’s very important that us girls make everyone feel comfortable and prepared during this time leading up to tryouts because that’s what we wanted when we were in their shoes,” junior Olivia Phillips said.  

Last year’s tryouts were virtual amid the pandemic. This year, however, the tryout process is much more normal. Students will be able to come together and work on material in front of the judges. 

As announced on Wednesday, April 21, the North Allegheny cheerleading teams are getting new coaches. After difficulties with the previous coach, Kaylee Kenz will be the new head coach for the varsity team. 

“I am very excited to have a new coach this year,” varsity cheerleader Maddie Baker said. “I can’t wait for her to bring in new ideas for our routines.” 

Kenz also coaches at a local all-star cheer gym in Cranberry called Rockstar Cheer. Some cheerleaders have had her as a coach in the past and are excited to have her reputable coaching for a second time.  

“I am very excited for this opportunity and a new journey in my life,” Kenz said. “Coaching is my passion, and I can’t wait to get to know these girls.”

Just announced in the last few days, North Allegheny is allowing the cheer team to hold its annual minicamp. This is where girls grades K-8 get to learn cheer material from JV and Varsity cheerleaders, to then go on and perform for their parents at the end of the week.

The cheerleaders and thrilled they are allowing this event to take place considering it wasn’t allowed last year. The seniors have the opportunity to make up routines for the younger girls, which makes this camp especially exciting.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to teach all the girls the routines we make up for them,” Megan Roth said. “I missed it last year, and to be able to do it my senior year is really special.”

After the festivities of summer, the upcoming seniors are excited to have the special experiences of their senior year during football and basketball seasons. Hoping everything goes to plan, the girls are looking forward to a normal senior year they will never forget.