By Chris Cox
With the way rosters turnover at the high school level, team’s change yearly and tend to take on the personality of the senior class. Add in the fact that COVID-19 upended the better part of two school years and Heritage Hall cheer coach Heather Showalter said this year’s squad is probably even more reliant on that senior class. “Because of COVID, and because of the makeup of the roster, these seniors are the only ones that have had a normal high school football year,” she says. “So, it’s almost like a full team of freshman except for my three seniors.”
With just the three seniors having any sort of game day and competition experience, a lot of responsibility has fallen on their shoulders to help get the rest of the team where they need to be. But Showalter says those three girls were ready for that added responsibility. “I didn’t have any seniors last year, so two of my seniors this year were captains last year as juniors,” she says. “So, they’ve already been in a pattern of leadership and the team is responding well to that leadership.”
The three seniors all bring a wealth of experience to the cheer team. The captains, Mary Ellen Showalter and Isabella Lubert have been in the Heritage Hall cheer program since seventh grade. Malia Dinwiddie, who is rejoining the Heritage Hall team this year, was a part of the team her freshman year before focusing on all-star cheer the past two years. All three girls are eager to help lead Heritage Hall back to where the Charger cheer program was before COVID-19 hit. “There’s definitely a level of intensity this year,” Showalter says. “The seniors this year were runners-up at state as freshmen. So, they are hungry for success.”
Along with their talent in cheer, Showalter says this group of seniors also has their priorities in line. “All three of them academically excel,” she says. “I think that sets an incredible tone for the team as well. They have their priorities straight. Cheerleading is a priority, academics are a priority, and they just lead by example.”
Along with the closeness of this group, Showalter says this group has their priorities in order.
Malia Dinwiddie (Sr), Isabella Lubert (Sr), Mary Ellen Showalter (Sr), Esther Banks (Jr), Aiden Walker (Jr), Natalie Beams (So), Chloe Counts (So), Elise Douglas (So), Lilly Jackson (So), Bethany Belonchik (Fr), Hayden Holbrook (Fr), Addison Kirby (Fr), Grayson Kirby (Fr), Addy Washington (Fr), and Lauren Wilson (Fr).