The Loveland High School Cheerleaders were dressed for Christmas at a recent basketball game
by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – Hundreds of parents and spectators will be cheering their way into a packed gym for the 2019 Eastern Cincinnati Conference Cheer and Dance Competition on February 2nd at Walnut Hills High school.
The ECC Cheer and Dance Competition will be held at the Walnut Hills High school gymnasium on February 2nd; where the dance competition will begin at 11 a.m. and the cheer competition will begin at 1 PM Admission will be 6 dollars for adults and 4 dollars for students and seniors. For more information visit the Eastern Cincinnati Conference website at www.eccsports.com.
Student athletes from Loveland, Milford and Kings, to name a few, will take part in one of the most important cheer and dance competitions of the season sponsored by the ECC beginning at 11 AM. Each school in the ECC will be represented in the competition that is said to be the highlight of the cheer and dance team’s year.
“It is the one time a year that these cheer and dance teams can come together as a league and compete in their sport. They do so much for the school throughout the year; it’s their chance to be highlighted,” Assistant District Director of Student Athletics at Loveland High school, Eric Fry explained.
Each cheer team can bring 30 cheerleaders and each dance team can bring 16 dancers. Fry says in the past this competition has been so well attended that there has been a line to get in the door.
“The past several years the gym has been packed! The crowd is cheering for the athletes and there is a great atmosphere all the way around,” Fry said, “Walnut’s gym has a great set up for this competition and has worked well the last couple of years.”
Last year, Milford won the event in cheer, Loveland came in 4th in cheer and Kings won in dance. This year for the first time Loveland will be competing in the dance competition.
“I know that teams have been working hard for this competition. I know the Tigers will be there and represent well,” Fry said, “Kings has had a phenomenal dance program and Milford has been doing well in years past in cheer. This year is anybody’s championship to take!”
Those who attend cheer and dance competitions as spectators are of course entertained by the athleticism and musicality of the student athletes, but many don’t truly understand how technical the competition itself actually is and how intensely the teams are scored. Tournament Manager, Heather Kaiser, says judges for the ECC Competition are selected based on experience and have to be licensed cheer and dance judges from the Universal Cheerleaders Association and Universal Dance Association organizations.
“This is a pretty competitive event so we use some of our very best judges. Judges are looking for an overall well executed performance routine,” Kaiser explained, “Difficulty comes into play as well. Cheer has to compete in two different categories, Game Day and Performance. Dance performs in two different categories as well, Pom, Jazz or Hip-Hop. For both the cheer and dance competitions two scores are then averaged to pick an overall winner,” Kaiser said.
Seems simple enough right? Wrong! On the ECC website I found score sheets for both the cheer and dance competitions and the judges really have to pay close attention to every single detail as the points given to the teams are broken down into subcategories. For example, on the Cheer overall score sheet judges are expected to score “Jumps” out of 15 points. They must look at proper technique, form, height, synchronization, type of jumps, connections, combos and variety. Judges also look deeper into
“Dance,” which is out of 10 points. In this category judges look at technique, sharpness, placement, timing, spacing, use of levels, overall choreography and visual appeal. Lastly, on the overall score sheet for Cheer judges score the “Overall Impression,” which is 5 points. The judges base this score on routine creativity, flow, use of formations and transitions. This is just one of the score sheets involved in the Cheer competition! There is also a “Game Day and Crowd Leading” score sheet, which is 50 points, a “Game Day, Fight Song and Band Chant” score sheet, which is 50 points, and a
“Tumbling” score sheet, which is 35 points. While the Dance competition is one individual score sheet the subcategories on the score sheet are just as intense! Judges look at “Execution” of movement, skills, synchronization, uniformity, spacing, communication and projection for a total of 50 possible points. The score sheet also includes “Choreography,” where judges look at creativity, musicality, routine staging, complexity of movement and difficulty of skills for a total of 40 possible points. Lastly, the judges will score the “Overall Effect,” which is based on the overall impression of the music, costume and choreography for a total of 10 possible points.
“Teams can stand out if they really focus on the difficulty category,” Kaiser said, “For cheer; crowd leading routines are very appealing. Tumbling and dance also play a big part. For dance; choreography plays a huge part. If they include turns and lifts the judges find that really appealing as well,” Kaiser explained.
As the competition draws nearer athletes are fine tuning their final routines and, according Kaiser, couldn’t be more excited to show their parents, friends, coaches and the judges the final product.
The athletes take extra pride in this event because it’s against the teams they see all year long.
“The athletes take extra pride in this event because it’s against the teams they see all year long. Conference Championship games are always a big deal in every sport plus they get so many fans to come to this particular event and the support is HUGE,” Kaiser said.
This will also be the first year the ECC will include cheer and dance to be counted towards the All Sports Trophy Title.
“The competition is fairly new, so the league wanted to get it right before it was included in the ECC All Sports standings,” Fry explained.