ROCKINGHAM — The girls of fall, also known as the Richmond Senior High School cheerleading team, are gearing up for the 2019-20 school year. And the squad is fresh off its final summer camp as football season approaches.
Led by eighth-year head coach Meredith Hood, the Lady Raider varsity cheer team participated in the annual University of North Carolina cheer camp last week as one last stepping stone before the team begins its season.
Unlike any other athletic program at the high school, cheerleading is a two-season sport. The Lady Raiders will be on the sidelines this fall for Raider football games, and sit courtside this winter for boys’ and girls’ basketball.
The doubling up makes for a rigorous summer regimen to prepare for the two seasons, but Hood and her team have been hard at work since the spring to perfect their craft. Following tryouts toward the end of last school year, the Lady Raiders have practiced every week over the summer, save for two dead period weeks.
The program also hosted its annual cheer camp in July, seeing over 100 local girls participate in the four-day development camp. At UNC’s camp last week, Hood explained her team worked on learning new stunts and routines, while also bonding together as a team. The junior varsity team, coached by Morgan McInnis, also attended.
After losing a handful of seniors this year, Hood said the largest senior class in her tenure is stepping up to the plate. Among those returning seniors are Gracie Allen, Carly Batson, Jali Blue, Caroline Freeman, Amiya Griffin, Makayla Russell, Jade Sweeney, Allexis Swiney and Michaela Turner.
Also back with the team are several juniors, including Carissa Byrne, J’Niya Covington, Macy Faw, Elena Hall, Hannah Hinshaw and Emma Perry. New to the varsity team this season are sophomores Marley Moss and Lexi Watson, and freshmen Cayden Hood and Savannah Jordan.
ROSports met with Hood, Faw and Freeman following Monday’s practice to discuss UNC’s camp and the expectations for the upcoming season.
Meredith Hood, head coach
Hood discusses in more detail what the RSHS cheerleading team has been been up to this summer, including UNC’s camp, and also highlights some of the returning girls and the roles they’ll play this season. (click photo for video)
Macy Faw, junior base
Faw will enter her third season on the varsity team as a base. She talks about UNC camp and what the best part was, her role as a base, and also compares cheering between football and basketball. (click photo for video)
Caroline Freeman, senior base
Freeman is also beginning her third varsity season, and as a senior, she’s hoping to set a good example for her younger teammates. She talks about that leadership role, what’s she’s looking forward to most and explains some new stunts the team learned at UNC’s camp. (click photo for video)