Whether it was COVID restrictions, adjustments or cancellations of games or practices, and also building up regular routines with their new head coach, AHS cheerleaders had many changes to navigate in the fall of 2020.
“We had to wear masks throughout every game and practice.. we had only half of the team at practice most days (split a-k and l-z)” wrote junior Anna Libbon about the changes, “and barely any fans at games which made it very hard to cheer.”
A new coach took over the program after Mrs. Livesay left the district in the summer to return to her home state of Texas.
“The new coach is very nice and experienced. She has done so much for the team so far and really helped us through this really tough and confusing time.”
Winter Sports have been drastically reduced due to the rise in COVID transmission throughout the district, similar to over 20% positivity rate in Pittsburgh and across the state.
The impact on cheer is clear as well. “We have any had about 2 practices since the last home game,” wrote Anna, ” which was October 9th because of the rise in covid cases.”
Regardless, Anna remains optimistic. “I´m really hoping to cheer at a few more games and really get the experience that I was hoping to get when I signed up back in February.”
Eliza emailed the captains, Vanessa Biagiarelli and Grace Heflin asking them questions about their senior cheerleading season.
Question 1) How has the virus changed the cheerleading aspect fpr school?
“Everything’s so up in the air right now, especially with basketball season, that we haven’t had a practice in a few weeks. It’s been tough having a senior year like this, especially when it affects what I love to do the most, cheer on my peers. Right now we are hoping to go back to school and resume practices as soon as it’s safe to do so!”-Vanessa
Question 2) Have practices changed in any ways due to COVID? If so, please list how.
“Yes, before every practice each cheerleader must complete a google form stating their temperature to make sure it’s not elevated. We also have to answer some yes or no questions regarding if we’ve traveled recently or been in contact with someone COVID positive. Masks are also worn during the entire practice as well as social distancing. We were also not able to stunt at the beginning of the season because of social distancing.”-Vanessa
Question 3) How was the experience compared to your other years of cheering?
“This year has been completely different than any other year I’ve experienced, as it is for all sports and activities. We’re kind of all learning along the way how to keep our team the safest during the pandemic. However, I am fortunate that we were able to get through football season and enjoy our senior night as well. We are hoping for the best regarding basketball season, but ultimately the safety of our team comes first. “-Vanessa
Question 4) Are you sad that you had to miss out on some things your senior year due to COVID cheer wise?
“I was very upset at first about missing homecoming and away football games because those were some of my favorite memories of high school! Although there’s not much you can do about it. There are much larger conflicts COVID has caused and I’ve learned to accept that this has taken a toll on everybody’s lives in a different way. I am grateful for everything my coaches, as well as Avonworth teachers and administration, are doing for our senior class to make it the best it can be!”-Vannesa