NEWPORT–It is official.
Cheerleading is making it's long awaited return to North Country Union High. After their second meeting on Tuesday, Head Coach Danielle Gage and Athletic Director Mike Kiser both confirmed the team's status as active.
"We are going to be cheering at the football games on the 30th and the the 21st (of October) and if there is a play-off game we will be there too," said Coach Gage.
Kiser was equally enthusiastic about the reformation of the team saying, "We are glad to have the program back, and and anything we can do to get student athletes involved is a good thing."
The idea of starting the program back up came from Gage's daughter Victoria, who missed the sport that she had been active in for many years.
"She did competitive cheer when we lived in Orange County California, and she really was itching to be cheering again. Everybody needs cheering, it goes hand in hand with football.
"So between Tori, myself, and my other daughter Shelbi we all sat down and said 'lets make this happen', and so we have."
The process of making sure all her kids are eligible and have the correct paperwork in has been relatively easy for Gage.
"Everything has been good so far. Everybody is eligible. We have really been wanting to get this thing going so I have been on everyone. If we are going to cheer, we have to go now."
The team of fifteen has been meeting regularly for about a month now trying to iron out details as well as work on fundraising.
Generating funds is a crucial part of the team's existence as they will be a club level team and therefor will not be receiving any money from the school.
The girls have already held a car wash, done two bakes sales, and received a generous donation from an incoming restaurateur. Next up on the fundraising docket will be a bottle drive this Saturday with the drop off point being at Gage's Awsom Gymnastic studio at 565 Union St. in Newport.
"There is nothing in the budget, so we are going to have to everything ourselves. We have about $1,400.00 we've raised so far. To outfit everybody it will cost about 140 dollars per girl, and that is before any other expenses."
If the team does well at the club level and generates continued interest, North Country's AD could see it get back to varsity status in as soon as a year.
"They will not be varsity this year, which means they will not be able to compete at the state meet, but they will be at the football, basketball, and possibly some of the hockey games. If the program takes off, then we can put together a competition team."
As it stands, the coaching staff still needs to get certified in a few areas that will allow the team to perform more elaborate routines, but for now they will perform what Kiser describes as more "traditional, ground based routines."
The team will call Awsom Gymnastics home for at least this year, and they will rehearse 3 days a week after school, maybe more, as the year moves along.
"It is a year long commitment, so going into the next year we will have try-outs right before school lets out, maybe have a summer camp, and then it will be a year long process," said the coach.
Gage also hopes to start a youth squad that can perform at Junior Falcon games before transitioning into the junior high program at NCUJHS.
In the short term the girls will continue to work towards their debut on the 30th of September, and looking long term, becoming a full varsity program is their ultimate goal.