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Let’s Get a Little Bit Rowdy: CRLS Cheerleading Spotlight

Pictured+%28left+to+right%29%3A+Team+member+Betty+Derege%2C+head+captain+Mahkeida+Goncalves-Charles%2C+and+co-captain+Patrina+Eugene.
Pictured (left to right): Team member Betty Derege, head captain Mahkeida Goncalves-Charles, and co-captain Patrina Eugene.

Pictured (left to right): Team member Betty Derege, head captain Mahkeida Goncalves-Charles, and co-captain Patrina Eugene.

Grace Ramsdell

Grace Ramsdell

Pictured (left to right): Team member Betty Derege, head captain Mahkeida Goncalves-Charles, and co-captain Patrina Eugene.

Grace Ramsdell, Editor-in-Chief

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As fans stream into the War Memorial building, the boys basketball team warms up in the Field House. But they aren’t the only team preparing for the evening. A trip to the Field House before a home matchup reveals the CRLS cheerleading team diligently preparing for the game.

According to head coach Jazzmyne Jacobs ’09, the program “wasn’t always that strong.” Jacobs was a cheerleader as a student at CRLS and has been head coach for five years. In a phone interview, she told the Register Forum, “As a cheerleader and someone really passionate about cheer, I wanted to see the program improve, so that was my reason for coming back.”

The team cheers at varsity football games in the fall and boys basketball home games and playoff games in the winter. A winter season in the life of a cheerleader means two-hour practices at the Baldwin School three days a week and cheering at basketball games whenever the boys team plays at home.

Head captain Mahkeida Goncalves-Charles ’18 explained, “What we do at cheerleading is we tumble, we stunt—which means throw girls up in the air—we learn cheers, we dance, and we get ready for our competitions.” The team participates in DCL Division 1 competitions once per season.

Gonclaves-Charles did not join cheerleading when she first got to the high school, but she was drawn to it soon after that. “I love to stunt, I love to throw people up, and I like to be a role model to other girls that are younger than me and have my sport be like another family to me,” she commented.

Co-captain Patrina Eugene ’19 added, “This team has been like a family to me. Since I tried out my freshman year, I’ve gotten so close to a lot of the girls, so I consider them my sisters.”

Of challenges for the team, Eugene noted, “Everything we do, we have to either fundraise for it or it comes out of our pockets.” Goncalves-Charles added, “You have to have a really strong mindset going into it, especially going to this school, because a lot of people just bash us and say we’re not good.”

Goncalves-Charles noted that the students on the team are all new to cheer: “It takes a lot of time to build that strength and experience,” she said, concluding, “We work as hard as every other team.”

Jacobs commented that she hopes to see the cheerleading team be more competitive. She added that the team is motivated, but they could sometimes use “that push” of support from the school community. “I’d love for the school to show more school spirit towards the team,” she said.

Boys basketball co-captains Jonathan Cenescar and Aidan Keefer ’18 each showed appreciation for the cheerleading team, Cenescar referring to the cheerleaders as “a big part of our home game success.” Keefer added, “They’re a huge part of the tradition and everything that goes into the basketball team.”

On joining cheerleading, Goncalves-Charles said, “We encourage other girls to try out. People say we’re really intimidating, but I don’t think we’re really intimidating.”

She concluded, “You can make the team. We’re really welcoming—we need new faces.”

This piece also appears in our February print edition.

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Let’s Get a Little Bit Rowdy: CRLS Cheerleading Spotlight