For Mitchell, this will be the beginning of her last season cheerleading after having been in the sport for eight years. She hopes to start the season off with a win but also recognizes that the team is doing higher level stunts this year.
Last year, Mitchell felt the biggest weakness for the team was that the stunts they were performing weren’t a high enough difficulty to gain more points. In competitive cheer, part of the team’s score comes from the degree of difficulty of a stunt. The more difficult the stunt, the more points that can be awarded.
Mitchell says there were several times last season that the team received zero deductions on their routines, but the degree of difficulty didn’t give them enough points to beat their competitors. She is excited for the stunts this year as they are of the highest level of difficulty that the Tigers have tried since she has been here.
Along with the new stunts, the Tigers have introduced seven new members to the team. Lyon says the new teammates have brought a lot of energy and positivity to the team. She is also pleased to see that the team chemistry has improved since the end of last year. As a team, the group has come up with four goals for the year: Clean routine/recover from mistakes, positive teamwork/communication, practice like you perform and have fun.
While the team chemistry has been positive, one area Lyons hopes to see the team continue to improve on is confidence. Mitchell also felt this was an area that could be worked on, saying “A lot of cheerleading is very mental. You just have to push through it and trust your teammates.”
The Tigers competition Friday is the first of seven, including the GPAC Championships and the NAIA Regional Championship.