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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS With their bases and spotters performing perfectly, flyers Stephanie Sandoval (upper left) and Kaylee Morales (upper right) hold a classic Arabesque maneuver during the morning training session of the July 12 Bulldog Cheer Camp in Decatur.

DECATUR -- A surefire method to get a high school sports team pumped up, whether it is football, basketball or soccer, is to get the spectators into the contest. One of the best ways to achieve this is via the cheer team.


The Decatur High School cheer teams over the last few years have displayed a unique ability to take a crowd of Bulldog fans who have fallen into a daze and whip them into a fighting force that gives the Decatur teams the spark they need to get back into the contest.

The Bulldogs held a private camp at Peterson Gym in Decatur July 12 to train their new members in the art of cheerleading while building the returning members' repertoire of new performance moves.

Running this year's camp was Bryan Foshe-Craig, an instructor at the Elite Cheer Academy in Siloam Springs. Two of his students, Hayden Williamson and Montana Herrel, assisted Foshe-Craig during the first day of the camp.

The morning session concentrated on the extensions or full stunt in which one cheer member called the flyer is lifted into the air and supported by two bases (two cheer team members), a back spotter and a front spotter. Kaylee Morales and Stephanie Sandoval served as the flyers during these training sessions.

But before this stunt was attempted, new cheer team members Kelvin Moreno, Jose Rubi and Kevin Sanchez, along with veteran performers Ana Ruiz, Tony Trejo and Heidi Rubi were given a 20-minute lesson in the basics of the sport.

While group one worked on the basics, the second group which consisted of the more experienced members worked on the extension maneuver.

In the first group with Morales as the flyer, Jose Rubi and Sanchez formed the base, while Lauro Molina took the back spotter and Williamson the front spotter. Herrel was the additional spotter for this group.

The second group, with Sandoval as the flyer, was supported by Moreno and Tilley in the base position. Trejo served as the rear spotter, while teammate Heidi Rubi served as the front spotter. Ruiz was the additional spotter in this formation.

Over the next 90 minutes, both groups worked and worked on the extension maneuver and, eventually, it started to come together. Then Coach Fose-Craig added a new twist to both formations, the Liberty.

In the Liberty stunt, the flyer stands on one leg with both arms extended in the air while both bases support one leg. Later the flyers learned the Arabesque move. The flyer extends the left leg behind her and supports her balance with the body leaning forward with the arms at 90 degrees to the body.

By the end of the morning session, a little over two hours later, the team became more and more confident and the stunts began to come together.

The afternoon session concentrated on the basket toss in which the flyer is thrown into the air and then caught by the base and spotters.

By the end of the first day, the Decatur cheer team members, old and new, began to gain newfound confidence in their abilities to perform these more advanced stunts.

Under coach Ladale Clayton, the Decatur unit has grown from a mere handful of girls huddling behind the fence line at Bulldogs Stadium performing simple cheers, to a team that takes center field putting on a performance that brings Bulldog fans to their feet. The cheer camp continues July 18-19 at Peterson Gym in Decatur. More on that event in the following weeks.

Sports on 07/17/2019

Print Headline: Decatur cheer team works on new stunts

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