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Slinger High School cheer team prepping for State in Appleton on Saturday, Feb. 24 | By Adeline Bretz and Aleeya Henke

February 22, 2024 – Slinger, WI – On Saturday, February 17, the Slinger High School Varsity Cheer team traveled to Hartford Union High School for the WACPC Preliminary competition for the school’s first ever try at making it to State.

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The season started last April with tryouts, where five veteran cheerleaders and eight freshmen were accepted to the team. We added one foreign exchange team to the mix in August.

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There were many new members, so summer was spent teaching, choreographing and learning many new cheers and sideline dances as well as halftime dances for every game. We attended camp over summer where four of our members made All American, a great accomplishment, which then led to two of them going to London for the New Year’s parade.

By early Fall, we knew we wanted to do competitions. Our coaches Amy Bretz and Kathy Kalupa, worked with our amazing choreographer, Lauren Tuska, we acquired our songs for competition, including our school Fight Song from our band director, ordered the props we would need and signed up for competitions.

This is where the expertise of Coach Kathy made a huge impact in our path. Donations from our supporters and the Slinger Gridiron were extremely important in helping us to make this happen. As you can tell, this was a community effort, with the support of our school administration and athletes’ parents.

We began our competition season in November at the Phoenix Invite where we placed second, which we thought was a promising start for our first time. We continued to practice together and at home for hours every week, making adjustments after reviewing the input we’d received from judges after each competition with a team full of athletes who had never competed in a cheer competition.

We worked through many obstacles throughout, including surgeries on two of our athletes and two others with injuries which took them out of competition, as well as a sudden sickness which led to reconfiguring our routine an hour before a competition.

Changing our initial routine and removing and adding back cheerleaders was a struggle, but our team became closer than ever throughout the winter as we learned to deal with adversity and to make accommodations when they are needed, and people learned new skills along the way.

We are very excited to compete this Saturday as this is the first time in Slinger history that the cheer team has made it to State. We have so much community support in Slinger, and we look forward to seeing our friends and family in the stands.

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Our Seniors, Aleeya Henke and Reese Wilfer are happy to have had such an amazing final season. Henke said she feels at home with her team, that this is her family, and she is sad this is likely the last time she will be performing for SHS.

She has enjoyed all the ups and downs of cheer, and she is so grateful for all of the support from her friends, coaches and family. Our team is like a family, we laugh, cry, sweat, and fight as one and we will always be the ones supporting each other no matter what.

We hope to see you in Appleton this Saturday at 9:55 a.m. at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center. Make sure you cheer along with us and HOOOOT for the Slinger Owls!

Click HERE to order your tickets.

Livestream will be available from the WACPC site closer to competition.

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