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Competitive cheerleading tryouts will be held October 28

Tryouts for the St. Joseph-Ogden competitive cheerleading team will be held on October 28 from 6 to 8pm at the high school. The Spartan cheer team is a coed team that cheers at all boys basketball games and will compete against other cheer squads from around the state hoping to win an Illinois High School Association state title.

SJO Cheerleaders
Cheerleaders help lead SJO fans in a cheer during a home game against Pleasant Plains in January. Spartan cheerleaders attended every game, home and on the road, to help keep team and fan morale high. Members selected for the competition squad also compete to qualify the state finals held in January. (Photo: PhotoNews Media Archives)


Head coach Jonathon Lackey says the he is looking for 12 to 16 students for the sideline team and seven to 12 for the competition team.

"As a coach I not only look for certain skills such as tumbling and stunting, I also look for someone who is driven," said Lackey. "I want cheerleaders who represent SJO in a positive manner, someone who will bring a great experience to games and events. Our top priority is to cheer games and support SJO athletics."

Lackey believes cheerleaders are important to the overall game experience and keep fans actively supporting players and the team throughout the season.

"It's our job to get the crowd involved to support the team. We bring a fun aspect to games," he said. "At games you need someone who is a leader to help get the crowd involved and excited, that's where we come in."

Keely McCorkle cheers during the Spartans' home game against Unity in January. Representing SJO in a positive manner is one of the roles cheerleaders have in addition to encouraging fans to show their support at games. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
The IHSA added a competitive cheerleading state series at the beginning of the 2005-06 academic year. St. Joseph-Ogden has qualified twice since then, once under the guidance of Nancy Olson in 2007 and last year under Lackey.

While training, performing and competing against elite teams from around the state, Lackey says cheerleaders serve a more significant role.

"I think it's also important to have a team that acts as ambassadors for the school in a positive manner," he explained. "That's where cheerleaders can succeed the most and become an important part of a game."

For more information contact Coach Lackey via email at lackeyj@sjo.k12.il.us. Follow this year's squad on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sjocheerleading/. Students interested in joining this year's squad can pick up tryout packets in the main office at the high school.

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