Saxon cheer sets sights on district and I-8 titles
The Hastings varsity competitive cheer team brings back 15 cheerleaders from the team that finished as a district runner-up a year ago. The Saxons open their season at the Maple Valley Invitational Jan. 4. (File photo)
With at least 15 cheerleaders returning from last year's squad the Hastings varsity competitive cheer team is already getting things lined up for the upcoming season.
The Saxons were just shy of some of their regular program goals last winter, missing out on a district championship by less than a point and finishing outside of the top spot in the Interstate-8 Athletic Conference. Ideally in 2020, the Saxons will be hoisting trophies at the end of those competitions.
The group of returning Hastings cheerleaders is highlighted by senior back spot Ireland Barber, an honorable mention all-region cheerleader in Division 2 last year. The Saxons' district runner-up a year ago put them in the regional round of the state tournament.
Hastings also brings back senior base Shannon Brown, who was a first team all-district selection along with Barber a year ago. All-district flyer Savana Leonard is back for her junior season, and the Saxons should be talented in the air above round three with junior flyer Abbie Capobianco and junior flyer/base Brynn Turnes returning as well. Turnes and Capobianco were both second team all-district last season, along with sophomore base Ruby Barber.
The team also brings back sophomore base Sydney Kuntz, senior base Alayna Vazquez, junior base Kaylee Bennett, junior flyer Sammi Cole, junior backspot Kaylynn Gonzalevez and junior bases Tandra McKinstry, Julieann Meeker, Maggie Nedbalek and Rylee Zalewski.
Key additions to the team include sophomore flyer Kierstyn Downs and freshmen bases Eve Bishop and Marissa Roberts.
“This team loves to drill, because of this we have seen huge improvement in our jumps, along with presentation in round one and two,” Hastings head coach Linsey Jacinto said. “Our round three is really shaping up. We are in a really good spot this early in the season. We are ready to hit the mat and see what we can do.”
The Saxons still have some time yet before they compete on the mat. They'll open the season at the Jan. 4 Maple Valley Invitational.
“We work hard on staying focused,” Jacinto said. “We have adapted by implementing a very strict practice schedule. I am amazed at how much we can accomplish in two hours.”
The Saxons will be battling with Pennfield and Jackson Lumen Christi at the top of the Interstate-8 Athletic Conference standings this winter.
The conference season starts at Jackson Lumen Christi Jan. 15.
Hastings has just one home meet on the schedule, the annual SaxonFest Cheer Invitational Feb. 5.