Winfield’s cheerleading squad is going old-school this year.
It’s not because they want to, though. The novel coronavirus has affected every walk of life, and the Warriors’ cheerleaders are no different. Coach Melissa Heintzelman brings back an experienced team in 2020, with just two underclassmen, but her cheerleaders won’t be performing their usual stunts due to the pandemic.
“We’re still working hard and staying sharp,” said Heintzelman, who is entering her fifth season as Winfield’s coach. “We’re working on a lot of new cheers, and getting our voices ready to stay louder during games this year.”
Heintzelman is joined this season by first-year assistant Gina Kuelker – and both will be tasked to keep the team’s spirits up knowing things will be different in 2020. However, Heintzelman said her girls know what they’re up against because of COVID-19, and they’re willing to make the best of it.
“They haven’t really expressed any distaste or disappointment. They’re understanding what’s going on,” she said. “Of course they’re going to miss doing the stunts, but they understand I’m trying to protect them.”
The novel coronavirus has literally changed the game for the Warriors’ cheerleaders. They will not be participating in any competitions due to the pandemic, and many have already been canceled.
Despite the tough breaks, the team is happy to be on the sidelines cheering in front of any crowds at all in 2020.
“It has (been a tough run), but we’re lucky and glad we’re even out there cheering and making these relationships that we’re making with the girls,” Heintzelman said.