Warrior cheerleaders keep going to states

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nansemond River’s cheerleading team made school history just by making it to the Eastern Region Championship this past Saturday at Churchland High School.

The Lady Warriors didn’t stop there though and by finishing fourth in the region on Saturday, Nansemond River qualified for the VHSL State Championship, becoming the first Suffolk school to ever do so.

“We were freaking out. I couldn’t even move and I think I was numb for a little while,” said Nansemond River’s captain, Stephanie Polensky, about the moment the announcement was made that her squad had finished in a tie for fourth, a tie for the last spot into states, with Kempsville.

“This means so much. We’ve worked so hard for this, for me, since I was a freshman, to get to states. That we finally did it, it’s just a great accomplishment,” said Polensky.

“The talent there (at regionals) was amazing. At the end, when they announced fourth place and called Nansemond River, the place just went crazy,” said head coach Vickie Stewart.

Despite the day off from school on Wednesday for Veterans Day, the Warriors were working hard at practice in the NRHS gym in the morning. Everything, the months of practicing and getting each detail perfect, comes down to a three-minute routine at a cheerleading competition. The room for error is always very small, but it will be even more miniscule at states.

The competitive part of cheerleading is only barely related to what most sports fans see at football or basketball games. Squads spend only a small fraction of their practice time on what they’ll do on Friday evenings on the sidelines.

“It’s very different, it’s nothing like what we do on the sideline,” said Polensky.

“Everyone on the team works hard and it’s about dedication and teamwork. Everyone’s here on time for every practice. It’s just about hard work and trust,” said Polensky.

The trust is an important ingredient to success since one cheerleading being out of position or out of sync can disrupt the whole routine, and therefore everything about a judge’s score at a competition.

The VHSL State Championship is set for Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Siegel Center in Richmond. The Lady Warriors had two weeks to recuperate and work on their routine between the district championship and the regional championship. It’ll be only a week this time.

“Now we’re just preparing for states. We’re pulling a little deeper and trying to pull everything we can out of them,” said Stewart.