Poms and cheer team move up to division 2


After two years competing in and winning the division three county tournament, the poms team is moving up to division two. Photo by Tomas Castro.

By Amy Nankin

After strong competition seasons, both the cheer and poms teams will be moving up from division three to division two for the 2017-2018 season. This 2016-2017 season marked the second time both teams secured first place wins at their county tournaments, making them eligible for advancement to division two.

For each team, this change will play out in different ways.


Two years ago, the poms team was moved down from division two to division three, but after emphasizing more complicated choreography and better team comradery, they have moved back up.

“We’re going to be much more aware of the way other teams are looking at us because now that we’re seen as the team moving up a division, we have to act accordingly and make a positive and intimidating name for ourselves,” pom Nora Marcus said. “This is going to push us to work harder to give other teams and ourselves a reason to push the reputation of a D3 team away.”

The Poms team is expecting to encounter much tougher competition in division two like the Walter Johnson wildcats and Einstein titans, the top two teams at counties this year.

“We’re going to have to take preseason and football season much more seriously if we want to place at counties given the higher level of difficulty,” pom Nora Marcus said. “We’ll have to start preparing for competition season much earlier.”

Poms tryouts begin May 31.


For the cheer team, this accomplishment is especially monumental because four years ago, the team had yet to take home a first place trophy at any competition.

“The team has grown so much in the past two years and it’s been amazing to watch,” cheerleader Helena Weisskopf said. “The way the team has grown was definitely not gradual. I think we were lucky enough to have a large group of talented girls all on the team at the same time.”

With the addition of a new group of dedicated, experienced cheerleaders, the team was able to focus on cleaning up technique rather than teaching basics which allowed them to perform more complicated routines.  

“We worked so hard and gained so many new skills over the course of the season,” cheerleader Vaulx Carter said. “It was an amazing feeling to have it pay off and take home first.”

Alongside a switch in division may come a change in how the cheerleaders are scored during competitions. This year, the Montgomery County cheerleading program has begun to lobby for exiting the Montgomery County program and entering the Maryland State association. While the program is still waiting on one more vote for approval from the cheerleading board, they are hopeful that the movement will be passed, coach Kristi Mcaleese said.

“If we do move to the state association there is going to be an enormous focus on cleanliness and difficulty because we’re going to be following a different rubric now,” Mcaleese said. “This also means there is potential for us to go to the Maryland State Tournament like every other sport.”

Joining the State association would not only mean adding another tournament to the squad’s competition schedule, but Mcaleese believes it has the potential to shift the public opinion on the sport of cheerleading.

“Right now we can only compete to the county level but if we are put under the state association we will follow all of the same rules as any other sport,” Mcaleese said. “There won’t be any more arguments against cheerleading not being a sport.”

Cheerleading tryouts begin August 9.