Berkley cheer aims for continued success after last year’s OAA Blue title

By: Sue Teggart | Woodward Talk | Published January 12, 2011

 The Berkley High competitive cheer team runs through a routine during a Jan. 6 practice. The Bears, last year’s OAA Blue Division champions, aim to “defend the den” in their 2011 campaign.

The Berkley High competitive cheer team runs through a routine during a Jan. 6 practice. The Bears, last year’s OAA Blue Division champions, aim to “defend the den” in their 2011 campaign.

Photo by Deb Jacques

BERKLEY — The future is looking bright for the Berkley High competitive cheer team.

After winning its first league title in 10 years with the smallest team that coach Karen Hathaway has ever coached at Berkley — just 11 girls — the program started the 2010-11 campaign on a high note by adding a JV squad.

“At tryouts, we had over 40 kids interested,” Hathaway said. “For football season, we had 24 on one team, which was over twice what we had last year. I had wanted to have more on varsity this year, but I also wanted to develop a JV team, so I ended up with 14 on varsity.”

Eight of the Bears’ cheerleaders are seniors; however, just six have cheered competitively before.

“It’s a very inexperienced competitive team,” Hathaway said. “They all have some kind of background, whether it was during football season or through youth cheer.”

Despite having to work more on precision and execution, Hathaway said, the Bears are further along than they were last year at this point in the season.

“Overall, our first two rounds scored higher than they did last year, or even the last four years,” she said. “The starting point is good; it’s just a question of whether we can keep improving on those scores.”

Much like last year, Hathaway thinks the team’s positive attitude and will to succeed are pivotal to its success.

“Everyone looks forward to coming to practice,” Hathaway said. “The girls who have been on the team before know when to take it from a fun atmosphere to focusing. They’re very determined.”

Hathaway said the goal is to earn another patch for the girls’ varsity jackets, and they’ll use the season theme of “Defend the Den” to keep them motivated.

“Now that they know they can be good, they don’t want to take a step back,” Hathaway said.

“After what we did last year, everyone wants it again,” said senior Britney Brown. “It pushes us to get better.”

After realignment in the Oakland Activities Association, new teams join the Bears in the Blue Division, including Farmington High and Auburn Hills Avondale. Additionally, Birmingham Seaholm, Bloomfield Hills Andover and Pontiac High added programs and will compete in the OAA Blue.

Hathaway thinks her squad will have more of a challenge this season, but it’s eager to rise to the occasion.

Fans can catch the Bears in action at the first OAA Blue Division league meet Jan. 12.