Cheer Team and Step Squad Dominate in DCLs


Head of School Rachel Skerritt

BLS cheer and Step Squad win the DCL competitions!

Coming back from a year of online schooling, the Boston Latin School cheer and step teams have kicked off their return to in-person competition by dominating the Dual County League (DCL).

With their return to the gym, both teams are slowly stepping into the swing of things. Senior Cheer Captains Megan Nguyen (I) and Willa Davis (I), along with Step Squad Captains Naomi Barrant (I) and Patty Huang (I) provide their insight on the difficulties of readjusting to the pre-pandemic schedule, in addition to how their teams have overcome these challenges in order to be crowned DCL champions.

Regarding daily practices, Huang says, “In years past, we moved along quite quickly, often teaching a step per day during the football season.” She continues, “I think coming off [one and a half] years of virtual learning in addition to having so many new members has slowed down our pace, putting us behind at times.”

With its team increasing from eight to 21 members, the Step Squad has definitely taken on new challenges in teaching such rigorous routines to more people, something that Huang has expressed her excitement for.

The cheer team has faced similar challenges in its return to this season. Nguyen states, “Readjusting to in-person school [and the workload], while simultaneously readjusting to a full season with practice every day has been challenging for everyone on this team, as we are all such busy people.”

In addition, opportunities that were once available to the team have been impacted by COVID-19. Davis explains, “We used to be able to go to UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association) sleepaway camp as a team to work on skills and technique.” Unfortunately, the camp was not running this year.

Amid these setbacks, however, cheer and step team members are not discouraged. An average practice for the step team runs from 2:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. and consists of learning new step routines. Captains are responsible for teaching the routine, and once the learning process is over, they drill it and practice it together until it sounds clean and sharp.

As for the cheer team, practices are from 2:45 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. for varsity, and 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. for junior varsity daily, except Tuesday. Typical practices begin with stretching and warming up their tumbling skills. Then the team spends around one hour stunting and working on pyramids, 30 to 45 minutes on run-throughs of the routine and around 30 minutes working on dances. The run-throughs, which are essential in preparation for competitions, consist of a 2.5-minute routine that has two pyramids, two partner-stunts, jumps, one cheer, a tumbling section and a dance.

Both teams’ hard work, has paid off culminating in their most recent victory at DCLs.

After their performance, Huang states, “It was nerve-racking for sure, but I felt so proud of each and every one of us after we finished our routine. When we won, it was like all the time that we poured into practicing after school every day had finally been acknowledged.” The Step Squad’s hard work translated into their phenomenal performance.

The cheer team underwent a similar experience, as Nguyen and Davis emphasize the fulfillment from returning to the post-pandemic season with a victory. “We spent so much time working on this routine, and spent so many hours practicing and working through different issues that it was so rewarding to have that hard work recognized,” Davis explains. The team has high hopes for its upcoming regional and  state-level competitions, upgrading stunts and cleaning up their routine.

Post-DCLs, the Step Squad and the cheer team are excited to perform at the Pep Rally, with both teams creating and working on a new routine for the school. Every routine is made from scratch and provides an opportunity to express their creativity and showcase their skills.

Despite a difficult transition into the season, the BLS step and cheer teams aim to continue their success in future competitions.