Cheer Participates in First Digital Tryouts


Graphic by Annie Qiao

In each tryout video, applicants stated their name and a fun fact about themselves, showed their jumps and performed the cheer and dance. In addition, students reached out to two teachers to fill out a Google Form that aimed to give judges an idea of the attitudes, personalities and work ethic of new potential team members.

Tiffany Wu, Co-News Editor

Cheer tryouts for the 2020-2021 school year have fallen among the various activities that have changed to become digitized as schools have settled into their quarantine routines. On April 13, tryouts were “due,” making cheer the first sport to hold and evaluate next year’s team members through digital tryouts.

Students watched pre-recorded tryout material videos in order to learn each routine and recorded their own takes. Outside judges evaluated each applicant based on their presentation, jumps, cheer performance, dance performance and spirit/showmanship.

“Cheer tryouts were definitely different than anything I have experienced as a coach,” cheer coach Allison Levya said. “Although it wasn’t ideal to have our tryout process be in a ‘virtual’ format, I am so glad we decided to do it this way, because we have two great teams. The only minor obstacle was that some of their Wi-Fi connections were not as strong, so the videos were blurry at first.”

In addition to the performance video, teacher input and recommendation through an evaluation form and the student’s GPA supplemented each tryout score. 

One of the largest changes for cheer tryouts was the ability for girls to retape their video until they felt it was sufficient. Levya said she worried that judges would struggle to differentiate applicants, though in the end it was not a problem. 

“Honestly, in a way, having multiple tries is a better representation of our skills,” returning cheer athlete and junior Maddy Fukuda said. “For football games, basketball games and pep rallies, we always practice several times before. We also do ‘full outs,’ which essentially means to run through a routine as if we are performing. Basically, we get to practice many times before events during the season, so it’s fair that we get to practice before trying out.”

For other participants, issues arose around the more technical aspects of filming tryouts, such as location and noise. 

“For me, it was more nerve wracking, because you couldn’t see any of the other girls trying out and the reactions of the judges,” returning cheer athlete and junior Ashley Presnell said. “I had problems finding a place to film everything, and doing it all in one take was really stressful because I took like 30 takes before finding one I was happy with.” 

Results can be found here.