Karli Karanges is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student majoring in Sports Journalism covering Desert Edge High School athletics.
With the stands filled again and the season packed with games, the strong and football-loving Scorpions, along with their devoted and passionate coaches, are worth cheering for.
After two years of cheering on their football team with shortened schedules and to stands just barely halfway filled with fans the Desert Edge High School cheer team is incredibly thankful for the way the 2021-22 season is playing out.
“They are super happy to have a couple more games to cheer for this year, since last year's season got cut shorter. It has been really nice to be here on a Friday night and let them have that full experience for their senior years,” head coach Alexis Moreno said. “They do love having fans back, and they really like feeding off of that energy. They are really just happy they are able to continue their senior years and do a sport that they love.”
“Last year we did have fans but it wasn’t a lot. It was barely half of what we have this season, really only our parents, and that was it. We are happy to have the fans back,” the team said.
Despite their larger 5A football team, the Desert Edge cheer team is a total of nine, with a total of six seniors this season. However, the cheerleaders don’t let the size of their team change the way they choose to support their high school football team. They are still able to rally the crowd, support the players, and proudly yell their team’s name as they would any other year.
“We only have nine this year, it is a smaller team. But they are always doing everything as if they had a larger team,” Moreno said.
Although they aren’t a very large team they are still composed of a lot of experience, skill and talent. The Scorpion cheerleaders have been working their way to being on a high school cheer team since the moment they could walk. Some have been involved in dance outside of school as well as competitive cheerleading.
“Some of us have been little mascots since we were two years old. We’ve danced and been cheering ever since we were young,” the team said.
Their passion for cheerleading along with the size of the team, how they are being coached, and how long the girls have been involved in it together is what makes the girls so strong when they are together. When asked what their favorite thing about high school cheerleading is, the entire team said together in unison “our bond.”
“Our team is like a sisterhood for sure. The way we all interact and we’ve got each other's back no matter what. We know how to have fun together,” the team said.
When it comes to how they are being coached, not only are they improving their skills athletically but, they are also learning a few life lessons along the way. Not only does being on a team bring people closer together, but learning more about life together with someone certainly does too.
“I love that although I’m teaching them technical skills for cheerleading, I’m also teaching them some life skills. Being on time, that’s going to be important when they get a job. Being accountable for their actions and being great leaders on the field, that will transpire in the community,” Moreno said.
The Desert Edge cheerleaders' strength when they are together is certainly something that is able to improve with a seating section filled with fans and an entire season filled with games.
As a team, they have everything they need. They have the experience, the skill, and the passion. They are strong. And now after two years, their environment is strong too.