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Sandy Journal

Jordan Cheer named 6A State Champions in pom routine

Feb 22, 2021 10:58AM ● By Tavia Dutson

Jordan’s Pom group at Jordan High School. Left to right: Kate Odom, Kimberly Wong, Cassidy Ensign, Isabelle Hauber, Haley McMillan and Sasha Moore. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Calloway)

By Tavia Dutson | [email protected]

A year ago, Jordan High School Cheer head coach Nicole Calloway wasn’t sure if she would have a team to compete in the 2021 season due to COVID-19 restrictions. When she was finally able to host tryouts, she had to host them via video chat.

“I wanted to wait to do in person, but we eventually had to do it virtually,” Calloway said. “We usually do the clinic before, but this year we only saw them one time and had to base our decision off that.”

Despite the difficulties of navigating this live video tryout for the first time, Calloway and her assistants were able to select their team. During tryouts, Calloway noticed that she had many strong dancers on the team. She decided to do something she had never done before— compile a team of six girls to compete in the pom routine.

“At our tryouts this year we noticed we have a lot of strong dancers, so we decided to just try it. We were kind of going into it blind, not knowing what the other teams looked like,” Calloway said.

According to the State Cheer Competition website, the pom routine is a combination of dance skills, precision cheer moves, jumps and tumbling. The routines are judged on choreography, difficulty, execution and crowd leading.

“It’s more of a technical dance, but also very cheery. It’s way different from what you might see at a drill competition,” Calloway said.

Once the team was formed, Calloway and the six members (Haley McMillan, Sasha Moore, Isabelle Hauber, Cassidy Ensign, Kimberly Wong and Kate Odom) got to work. Because the pom group was a select group of the whole team, they had to commit even more time to practices.

“We had to do extra practices or sometimes we would go earlier or stay later. We do have to put in extra time to be on the team but it's worth it,” said captain Haley McMillan.

The team entered the 2021 competition season not sure what to expect. Not only were they new to the pom routine, but COVID-19 changed how competitions were run.

“Competitions have been different this year. There are no spectators, just judges,” Calloway said. “You go in, do your routine, and as soon as you’re done you leave.”

Although Calloway and her team were not able to watch their competitors to get an idea of what to expect, they excelled. After winning the Region title, they were excited to be able to showcase their talents at the state level. On Jan. 23, the team headed to Hillcrest High School to compete against the best in the state.

After another great routine, the Jordan team went home where they waited to hear the results. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the teams were unable to gather for the award ceremony. When Jordan was announced as the 2021 champions, the team wasn’t together.

“I was driving to my dad’s house listening to the award ceremony and it was just like ‘oh, we won.’ It was weird not being with everyone,” McMillan said.

Although both Calloway and McMillan agree it was hard to win their first state title without the usual trophy reception and excitement, the team couldn’t be more ecstatic.

“I never thought that I would be a state champion, it feels so cool to say that,” McMillan said.

Due to district restrictions, Jordan will be unable to travel to the national competition, which they qualified for in both the pom and show routines. The Beetdiggers will still host their annual year-end showcase on Feb. 20 to wrap up a successful season.

McMillan, a junior, is excited to see what the next year will hold. The team is working to establish a culture of greatness at Jordan.

“I think that winning state showed people that Jordan cheer is good. Hopefully, people will want to come to Jordan to be on the team and win a state title. I think it will bring more girls to our team,” she said.