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Cheer team stronger than ever for OAA debut

Front Row: (from left) Alex Frattini, Melanie Crumbaugh, Brittany Cavanaugh (captain), Jade Vickery, and Jackie Colon. Middle Row: (from left) Alejandra Lozano, Baillie Terrian, Alyssa Kasdorf (captain), Carson Johnson, Ciarrah Poston, Kiersten Wallemen, and Kendall Burr. Back Row: (left to right) Coach Melissa McClain, Lisa Flasher, Leah Paul, Breanna Kalaj, Courtney Clavet, Taylor Barrett, and Coach Shari Russell. Not Pictured: Bri Vasha (click for larger version)
December 01, 2010 - It looks like the cheerleading program is strong as ever heading into their first season in the Oakland Activities Association.

Cheer co-coach Shari Russell said this was her strongest team since she took over the program. "We are only weeks into the season and the girls look better than they ever have at this point," she said.

Eighteen girls make up the squad this year, and many of them have cheered before at the varsity level.

According to Russell, the biggest challege facing her team this year is not knowing how good the competition is going to be.

They will be competing against Clarkston, North Farmington, West Bloomfield, Hazel Park and Royal Oak in the OAA white division.

"We've looked at scores, but judging is very subjective, so it will be hard to know where we fall in the league until we see these teams on the floor," she said.

Another change between the OAA and the Flint Metro is is how the meets are weighted. According to Russell, the three FML meets are weighed the same, while the third meet in the OAA is weighed heavier than the first two.

"This is a new pressure for our team, and we will be working hard to have consistency in our preformances," Russell added.

Oxford will host two meets, the white division meet on Wednesday, Jan. 19 and the league championship on Saturday, Feb. 5.

Leading the way for the Wildcats will be Russell's two captains, senior Brittany Cavanaugh and junior Alyssa Kasdorf.

Russell describes Cavanaugh as a "quiet leader, but someone the team can go to and count on at any time," while saying that Kasdorf "is highly motivated and pushes her teammates physically to be the best they can be."

"Both girls are great students and wonderful role models for the younger members of the team," Russell said. "Their differences in strength provides the best possible leadership for our team."

Russell is hoping for a top two finish in the league and a top four finish at regionals.

"We have a strong desire to succeed. The girls are starting to know how it feels to win and they are willing to push themselves harder to reach their goals," Russell said.

They open the season on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Novi Fire Up competition.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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