Long Cane cheerleaders enjoy winning season

Published 11:57 am Saturday, November 2, 2019


Daily News

All they do is win.

The Long Cane Middle School competitive cheerleading team has participated in six competitions this season, and it has won five of them.

The one time the Cougars didn’t win they placed second, and it was a tight finish between them and the team that won.

Long Cane will try to keep the good times rolling on Sunday when it participates in a state competition in Powder Springs hosted by the Stingray cheerleading team.

“They’re coming from all across the state,” said Traviera Sewell, Long Cane’s head coach. “We haven’t competed against any of the teams that are going to be there, so it should be very interesting.”

Long Cane should be up to the challenge.

It’s been an extraordinary season filled with championships and exceptional performances, although Sewell said the team is always striving to improve.

“We don’t get a perfect score, so there’s always room for improvement,” Sewell said. “You have different judges and they give us so much different feedback. There’s always something that we can do better.”

Sewell added that “it’s pretty much the same routine, but every competition we try to get more difficult. The judges always give us a score sheet and give us things to work on, so we incorporate that feedback to make our routine the best it can be.”

That the season would be as successful as it has been was far from a given when the cheerleaders and coaches got together for the first practice.

Many of the cheerleaders who were members of the 2018 team were eighth-graders, so they’re cheering at Troup High this fall.

Despite the turnover, though, it has been a phenomenal season, and Sewell offers the credit for that to the work ethic of the team members.

“We had a lot of new girls on the team this year, because we had a big group go to high school,” Sewell said. “So especially for being so young, they’re very dedicated and ready to learn new skills. They don’t mind practicing every day. Cheer is their thing. I’ve watched these girls grow over the season, and I can’t tell you how dedicated they are to this sport.”

Sewell is grateful that the cheerleaders will have one last chance to show off their skills and team work.

“It was very last minute,” Sewell said, referring to Sunday’s state meet. “I told the parents that we can’t miss out on this opportunity. I called the girls to my class room and told them about it, and I’ve never seen that much excitement in their faces.”

At Long Cane’s final regular-season competition, it finished first in its division, and Sewell was gratified to see the teams from Gardner Newman and Callaway Middle School also do well. Gardner Newman and Callaway both finished second in their respective divisions.

“They hang out outside of cheer, even though they’re cheering for different teams,” Sewell said. “They’re all friends, so to see them in that atmosphere all doing so well was a really powerful thing.”

Sewell knows what it’s like to be on the mat during the heat of competition.

Sewell was a successful cheerleader at LaGrange, and she was also a competitive cheerleader at the University of Georgia.

This is her fifth school year as a teacher at Long Cane, and she has enjoyed seeing so many committed and gifted cheerleaders come through the program.

“My first group of cheerleaders, they’re now seniors, so I keep in contact with them,” Sewell said. “To follow them from middle school to see how they’re progressing in high school on the cheer mat, and to know I had a little bit to do with that is just a great feeling.”

Sewell works closely with Amelia Key, who oversees a competitive cheerleading program that has thrived at Troup High.

“Coach Key and I are very close,” Sewell said. “I actually coached her daughter, so we stay in contact a lot. Every week we get encouraging words from the high school, which is really beneficial for our girls to here that the high-school girls are thinking about them.

“This is my fifth year teaching, so all along the way, she’s helped me grow as a coach, and she’s honestly been a great role model for me.”

CHEERLEADERS: Ivy Jane Doughman, Lola Grace Johnston, Mary Joy Moosman, Catherine Smalley, Summer Smith, Justiana Wilson, Payde Akins, Kaitlynn Anthony, Ava Arrington, Daziyah Kennedy, Madison Murphy, Karley Perry, Mallory Webb, Marlee Anglin, Marlee Elliott, Zoe Graham and Ayriel Martin.