Kara Mae Mathis – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Seniors going and freshman coming. As some cheerleaders are sad about their final year, there is a handful who are eager to see what the next four years will have in store for them.
“I am ready for high school to end, but I am not ready for cheerleading to,” said senior Kylie Birch. Birch has been cheering for competitive all-star teams and Lakewood Ranch for many years.
“Being on the cheer team is going to give me a great high school experience,” said freshman Kacy Bua. This year, Bua has stepped on the mat for the very first time. In previous years she was a gymnast.
“I wanted to join the cheer team for the experience,” she said. “I also had an interest in it for awhile.”
The Mustangs cheer team is composed of 52 girls of various ages and grade levels. Some are already considering their final days.
“Being a freshman and thinking about my senior year is exciting and sad,” said freshman Taylor Strayer. “I love cheer so much, and don’t want to think about it ending.”
This summer, the cheer team went to four-day cheer camp. There, they followed a United Cheer Association (UCA) tradition known as a “Senior Send-off.” Seniors give the underclassmen advice and remind them to never take a moment for granted.
“You make life long friendships on this team,” said senior Emilee Bierwirth. “I am just as close to girls I’ve met freshman year as I am senior year, if not closer.”
On Senior Night, underclassmen are assigned a senior and make posters for her to hang on the sideline fence and bring them a bag of goodies. It’s a great bonding experience and time to show that all the years of effort are greatly appreciated.