SPECIAL to Ellis County Sports Sports
WAXAHACHIE — As Ellis County continues the “shelter-in-place” orders to manage the COVID-19 curve, the Life High School Waxahachie and Life Middle School Waxahachie cheer teams are proving their resilience through a virtual solution.
They held their regularly planned tryouts — online.
“We still wanted to give our girls the opportunity because it means a lot to them to be able to try out for the team,” Life Waxahachie head cheer coach Kirstein Andrew expressed. “They put in a lot of work this year and they really wanted to see the fruits of their labor.”
It’s no secret the traditional tryout season had taken an unexpected turn due to the pandemic. Thanks to a little ingenuity, the coaches found an answer to continue this season’s tryouts through digital applications.
“As far as the creative solution, all of the credit goes to our fearless cheer coaches, Kirstein Andrews and Lauren Scott,” Life Schools Athletic Director Scott Thrush added. “I will say that they do an amazing job and we are blessed to have them on our team.”
The spring tryouts were initially scheduled the week before spring break, only to be postponed due to the Life Waxahachie boys’ varsity basketball team advancing to the 4A Region III tournament and championship game.
“She [Andrew] had the amazing idea to have virtual tryouts, and I know it has done wonders for the morale of the students at home,” acknowledged assistant cheer coach Lauren Scott on the setback caused by the outbreak. “[We are] moving forward, one day at a time. Our students are amazing.”
Totaling 55 candidates and 165 videos, the process included an interview and self-evaluation of each applicant and three routine video submissions. From there, each hopeful was given a score by an outside panel of judges. Those judges were chosen by the Varisty Spirit company.
Though the middle school routines differed slightly from the high school division, Andrew noted a moment between Life School sisters that she says she will always cherish.
“I have a cheerleader who’s about to be a senior and her little sister who’s going into seventh-grade and decided to try out this year,” Andrew recollected. “It was so sweet because they actually got to practice together, and she was able to coach-up her little sister and made sure she knew the ropes of what she was supposed to do. I thought that was really sweet to see our older girls paying it forward to our younger girls.”
Judging came to a close on April 7 and the response of the virtual tryouts proved to be a resounding success.
“To our students — you guys are rock stars for not quitting,” Scott commended. “As we go through this pandemic, the world seems to have stopped, but you keep pressing forward in school and life. […] We are so proud of you!”
Thrush added, “We are blessed to have such quality staff that are very innovative and have the confidence to try new things to solve a problem. We appreciate Life School leadership in supporting us through these unprecedented times.”
With the experience in mind, Andrew went on to encourage the student body to continue to support one another even in times of social distancing.
“The biggest thing is, in order to get through this new normal, we need to really work together and be supportive in everybody’s efforts,” she said. “I think we can do more by supporting one another and being innovative than we can by doing anything else.”
The 2020-2021 middle, junior varsity and varsity cheer squads have been posted on Life Waxahachie Athletics website at lifemustangsathletics.com/2020/04/07/middle-school-cheer-squad-2020-2021/ and lifemustangsathletics.com/2020/04/07/jv-varsity-cheer-squad-2020-2021/.