The Neosho High School cheerleading squad is scheduled to compete at the Elite Championships state contest on Saturday at Carthage High School.

CARTHAGE - The Neosho High School cheerleading squad is scheduled to compete at the Elite Championships state contest on Saturday at Carthage High School.

Doors open at 9 a.m., with the opening ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. 201

Angela McCauley, NHS cheer coach, said she expects competition to begin around 10:20 a.m.

The NHS squad, made up of 13 girls, who McCauley refers to as her “Lucky 13,” placed first in the 5A Small Division at the Elite Championships regional competition Sept. 22.

“This year I have one of the best teams I’ve ever had,” McCauley said. “I’m very strict with them to a degree when it comes to practice, because I know they’re capable of doing so much.”

The Elite Championships are a new competition in their kickoff year, and are unaffiliated with the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

 McCauley said the Elite Championships offer a more engaging competition than the MSHSAA sponsored state contests.
“It’s very competitive but it’s fun,” McCauley said of the Elite competitions. “When you go to MSHSAA’s state, you go compete and it’s very serious.”

While MSHSAA state competitions consist of a single two-and-a-half minute routine, the Elite Competition is much more than the single team performance. There are also stunt and jump contests, dance competitions for moms and dads, and crowd spirit awards, which Neosho’s supporters claimed at the latest competition.

Among the 13 girls going to represent Neosho at this weekend’s competition, five are in their senior year of high school cheerleading.

“My goal this year is to have fun,” said senior Alexis Williams. “I’ve been on varsity four years, and there’s always good times and bad times in every season, but I think this year has probably been the best.”

Lizzy Snyder, also a senior, said she and her squad mates have worked hard to prepare for the season’s competitions, starting with two full day practices in the summer.

“We learned all of our material and then we kind of just built up before that our stunts to know what we could do,” Snyder said. “After that, we got our routine, and we’ve just been practicing and trying to nail everything.”

Snyder said her goal for this Saturday is to “make it the best it’s ever been.”

Snyder noted a saying the squad’s coach often tells them.

“Angie says, ‘Do it for the girl next to you,’ give everything you have, even if you wake up and you don’t want to be there and you’re having a crappy day, do it for the girl next to you that wants to win and wants to do good,” Snyder said.

McCauley said the squad’s success is also thanks to a supportive group of cheer parents.

“I truly appreciate all of the support I get from the parents,” McCauley said. “They are a huge asset to my program, and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. They shuttle back and forth, to and fro – no questions asked.”

The Elite Championship state contest has a $5 admittance fee and is open to the public.