Beyond the Sidelines: When Hardwork & Determination Pay Off.


Tell us your cheer story...
My name is Allison Knodle. I am 13 years old and I have been cheering for 2 ½ years. When I started cheering, I was in the first grade and it was just an after school thing that I did once a week. Fast forward to 6th grade when I saw a girl that I knew selling t-shirts at Future Cougar Night (I attend Strack Intermediate and the cougars are our mascot). The girl's name was Avery Collazo and I met her at summer camp the year before. She told me that she was there for cheer. I thought, if Avery , who is pretty much a role model to me, can do it, why can’t I? So that’s when I started cheering again. 

Initially I attended classes at a competitive all-star gym for a few months, but they weren't really for me. Then, I found Sideline and never left! That was January of 2013, my 6th grade year. When tryouts came around, all of my friends made the team, literally! However, I did not and was shocked. So many people quit cheer after they didn’t make their teams, but I decided that I wasn’t going to be one of them. I started doing off campus P.E. at Sideline Spirit, training a minimum of 5 ½ a week. Sometimes I just stayed for other classes because I didn’t want to leave. I kind of lived there. 

Despite how often I was training, I still panicked about tryouts. I got my back handspring January 16, 2014 - 11 days before my set goal which really made me think I had a chance this year. But shortly after, my wrists began hurting, so I got wrist braces- the worst thing I’ve ever done. The pain grew worse and worse and as tryouts neared, I knew that I would have to wear my braces at tryouts. Everyday tryouts drew closer, I became more and more nervous.  

By Wednesday, the week of tryouts, I had the material memorized and on point. That particular day, all tryout candidates were to participate in a mock tryout in which we would be required to perform the tumbling pass that they planned to throw at tryouts. My heart raced as I waited in the tumbling line. I threw my pass and fell on my knees - but no wrist pain. I threw it again, and then one more time and landed it perfectly. When I walked into my solo tryout on Friday (I went last in my grade) I knew that my hard work would pay off.

At 9 o’clock on the dot, I saw my name on the list of 8th grade Strack cheerleaders. Ever since then, I’ve been so proud of myself for what I’ve done and what I am going to do. We had cheer camp in August, which I couldn’t have been more excited about, and I was captain for the 2nd football game. So, it’s going pretty well with cheer, and everything is going to be ok… which life has already proved to me. 

How did you prepare for cheer tryouts?
I took 5-6 classes a week at Sideline for a year including a tryout prep class called Spirit Bootcamp. I also participated in First 15 and Operation Tryout - tryout prep events at Sideline. 

What is your favorite aspect of cheerleading?
The dancing and facials! I get to look silly with an excuse :)

What is your most embarrassing cheer blooper? 
At our first game this year, I was so nervous that I kept forgetting the motions and how many times we do a cheer and I was really embarrassed. 

Describe what it means to be a cheerleader.  
We are a team. We are role models for younger students and we cheer on teams at sports events as well as serve our community.

How has cheer shaped you as a person? 
Cheer has taught me how to work harder than I have ever imagined to get where I want to be. I have also learned that there is no limit to what you can achieve.


Beyond the Sidelines: Making the team!

Kenzie Arent

Tell us about…

What school you tried out for:
I tried out for cheer at York Junior High - 8th grade, CISD

What you did to prepare for cheer tryouts:
The first year that I tried out for school cheer, which was last year, I prepared by attending a cheer workshop at York Junior High. I also attended Operation Tryout and FIRST 15 at Sideline Spirit. Prior to each of those clinics, I attended Spirit Bootcamp - a tryout prep program at Sideline Spirit twice a week. I am proud to say that I was one of the first two participants ever! This year, I had an entire season of cheering with my school, took tumbling classes at Sideline Spirit and I also attended FIRST 15. 

What it was like trying out for the very first time:
I was slightly nervous but more excited as I felt very prepared

Any obstacles that you had to overcome:
The first year that I tried out for school cheerleader, I had a broken hand/finger. I play club volleyball and was injured playing right before cheer tryouts. I had to tryout with a cast on my arm up to my elbow. This year, I was still really nervous because being on the team this year made me want it even more! Learning all of the material was a lot easier though.  It was also really fun helping the 7th graders with their dance and cheer.  A couple of them actually were at FIRST 15 at Sideline with me this year!!!

What your reaction was when you heard that you made the team:
I was glad that the waiting was over and excited for next year!

What you most looked forward to when you first made the team:
BOWS!!! New friends and lots of cheer!

What your favorite aspect of cheer is:
Tumbling and energizing the crowd!                        

Beyond the Sidelines: JV Klein Collins HS Cheer Captain, Lauren Whitehead, on Tryouts

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Hey girls! My name is Lauren and I'm captain of the junior varsity team at Klein Collins high school! Being a cheer leader is an awesome and exciting thing and I love it! With tryouts just around the corner I know you may be feeling a lot of emotions, especially if this is your first time to try out. But always stay confident! I've learned from personal experiences that confidence is the best thing you can have going in to a try out! The judges love to see big smiles and lots of confidence when you walk on to that mat.

I know you all may be nervous, excited and anxious etc, and those feelings are normal! Just remember to try your hardest and prove to the judges you deserve a spot on that team! There is no better feeling after you have learned all your material, and practiced all week to have it have it memorized and you're at the point where you feel comfortable doing it! I promise in the end all of your hard work will pay off!! Be confident and focus on YOU! Good luck!!!

Beyond the Sidelines: 7th Grade Strack Cheerleader, Camille Douglas, on Competition Day


Nothing in the world can describe the feeling of being on the floor and giving your routine every single ounce of energy and attitude that you have. Waking up on competition morning is one of the best feelings. It's not like waking up on a school morning and dragging yourself out of your cozy bed. After all of the hard work you and your team has put in, you wake up knowing you are going to perform like crazy. Yes, the hair and makeup can be a little stressful at times, but it's all worth it. Once you are at your ending pose and listening to the crowd roar, it's exhilarating and a feeling that you can't put into words. You may struggle with a new skill or disagree with your teammates, but in the end you're all a family that has stuck together because you're all reaching for the same goal...victory.

Camille (left) and teammate Hailey (right). 

Beyond the Sidelines: Freshman Klein Oak HS Cheerleader, Hunter Kolon, Gives The Scoop On Her First Homecoming Game

Hunter Kolon 2012 Klein Oak Homecoming Game

Well, I'm Hunter Kolon and I am a freshman cheerleader at Klein Oak High. Every year, it is a tradition for the Varsity Oak Cheerleaders to allow the freshman and JV squads to cheer with them at the homecoming game. This year we were lucky enough to get to play against our biggest rival, Klein High. Before the game, we all wore our mums to dinner then caravanned over across the street to the stadium. Man, is that field big or what! Compared to our freshman field, the Varsity stadium is huge! So first quarter began and the freshmen got to start out cheering to the best section of the stands, the student section. During the first quarter we were ahead, and all of us were pumped. Being so close to the the football players and the field was so cool! You could feel the energy and the tension between the opposing rivals. Starting out with a good head start, 14-0. When we moved down to cheer in front of the parent section we started to fall behind. The crowd's energy raised sky high trying to get our players to get back in the game! All of us cheerleaders were yelling at the tops of our lungs, jumping up and down until our feet were sore.

Then halftime....smiling a smile so bright we were waiting at the edge of the field, until the announcer called for us to enter the field. Chanting our school's name loud and proud we flipped and kicked our way to the center and hit our pyramid flawlessly. The crowd ooh'ed and aah'ed at our tumbling and stunts. Afterwards, we went to go watch the rest of halftime in the student section, all of us went back down to the field to cheer on our dance team, the Strutters, and the Klein Oak Band. Screaming at the top of our lungs for every touchdown we made, we kept a smile on our faces even when we started to fall way behind. Doing tucks and spiriting to the crowd, we tried to do everything to pump our boys back up. Even though in the end we lost, the game was one of the best experiences I have had with cheerleading so far. Wearing our Klein Oak uniforms and our mums proudly after the game, we kept our heads up and said "Next year Klein, you are going down." And that was my experience cheering at my first homecoming game :)