By Lilianna DeBlasio

Features Editor

Pictured above: Varsity Hammond Cheer at Counties 2021

As Hammond’s fall sports season comes to an end, the cheerleading program is just getting started. Most people have seen the cheer team in action. Whether at Friday night football games or performing at pep rallies, they’re a crucial part of Hammond’s student spirit. But supporting football isn’t the only thing they’re capable of. Every year, our cheerleaders go to counties, a competition between all Howard County high school cheerleading teams, designed to rank each team and choose which will advance to regionals. 

Each team choreographs a 2 and a half minute routine to showcase their skills for the variety of judges. They are judged on skills such as jumps, stunts, tumbling passes, dance, and overall performance and energy. Between all of these categories, each team can score up to 130 points.

This year, on October 27th, cheer performed at Marriotts Ridge High School scoring 110.75 and earning 3rd place overall. This was extremely impressive and a huge shock to the girls and coaches. When asked what place they thought they were going to get, junior cheerleader Bella DeBlasio said “11th. Dead last. Because we had such little practice space and so many injuries, we were not expecting to be able to perform so well. Especially compared to the other teams who have had so much more time to practice and overall better conditions to prepare.”

Despite these doubts, the girls managed to score better than 8 of the 11 teams, including Marriotts Ridge, the previous 1st place team at counties. 

The challenges faced by the cheer team this season have been extensive, to say the least. For the majority of their season, the team had no consistent practice location. Due to the renovations at Hammond, the auxiliary gym, which is their usual practice space, was full of misplaced items that needed to be stored.

The team practiced on the blacktop and in the auditorium, hauling the mats back and forth to wherever they ended up that day. This setback didn’t hinder their ability to perform however, the team was able to impress the judges and audience with their technique and skill. 

On November 3rd, Wednesday night, the cheerleading program received more exciting news: they qualified for regionals. After waiting for every county in Maryland to perform, judge, and score each performance, the final standings for their division were revealed.

Only the top seven teams from each bracket can go to regionals. Hammond cheerleading was the 7th place team in their division, making the last qualifying team in the 2A bracket. 

Maryland cheer regionals were Saturday, November 6th, 2021, at Harford Community college. The girls performed and gave it their best, but unfortunately, did not place.

This performance was their last of the season, wrapping up Fall Cheer 2021. The girls had an amazing season and we can’t wait to see what the returners will bring to the team next year.