State Cheer


Malori W, Journalism 1 Student

The Nebraska State Cheer Competition takes place every year at the Heartland Event Center in Grand Island Nebraska. Many teams from Nebraska go and compete against other teams for Nebraska state titles. 

For two girls at PLHS, their cheer season works up to the state competition. Every game, long practice, performance, and team bonding. 

Sophomore Ava Thilges describes her team as hardworking and dedicated. 

“We work really well together, as we spend so much time together it helps to bond,” Thilges said. 

For freshman Layla Wesp she enjoyed the bus ride and hotel bonding. 

“The bus ride and the hotel were very fun,” Wesp said.  “We all got to hang out and get to know everyone better.” 

Thilges also enjoyed the bonding she experienced on the trip.

“The bus trip was really fun. We had a nice bus and it wasn’t too long of a ride so that helped,” Thilges said. “In the hotel we got to room with the closest girls to us on the team, so that was something special and fun.” 

The Nebraska State Cheer competition is the biggest one the PLHS cheerleaders attend every year. It is important to them that their hard work from day one and dedication pays off. 

“The place was huge and filled with cheerleaders from all around Nebraska,” Wesp said. 

For Thilges the atmosphere was a little more scary since Covid took her opportunity to compete at last year’s competition. 

“It was really overwhelming being it my first year there, there was a lot to take in,” Thilges said.  “There were so many teams which made me more nervous but once I got on the floor all the nerves went away and it was worth every moment at the end.” 

The getting ready process for Wesp was long and full of many steps. 

“We had to get up early around 5:30 or 6 to do hair, makeup, get into uniform and stretch,” Wesp said. “One of the most important things for warming up was making sure our jumps were perfect.” 

The cheerleaders had been getting ready for this day for six months. 

“Getting ready was a lot of preparation and could sometimes be stressful,” Thilges said. “We had practice Tuesdays after school and on Saturday mornings to perfect our routine.” 

Being a part of any team can teach many valuable lessons that aren’t connected to the sport. For Thilges that was teamwork. 

“The most important thing I’ve learned this season is that teamwork is the best for everyone. Team connections, bonding, and communication. Especially doing it with the people you enjoy.” 

Wesp also agrees that teamwork on a team like theirs is important, but she also learned another life lesson. 

“I would say the biggest lesson I learned was to always have fun no matter what you’re doing that day and that hard work really pays off.”

So as the PLHS cheerleaders continue to work for the last basketball games this season they also continue to look back on all the fun and memories they made at State.