spirits are soaring:
Football and basketball games will never be the same
at the Sedona Red Rock High School. And, that’s a good thing
now, there has never been a cheerleading squad at the school.
Those days are over, and that has made 13 very spirited girls,
The enthusiasm of the cheerleaders is only equalled
by their coach, Rena Cureton.
Cureton, who looks like “one of the girls,” is eager
to make this a year to remember. A hree-year veteran of cheerleading,
she is no stranger to knowing what it takes to form a dynamite
team. While coaching is a new experience for her, she isn’t
insecure or timid in her approach. “I like to just get in
there and do it,” she said.
Tryouts were held in late May and Cureton had no trouble
picking the 13 young ladies, ranging from sophomores to seniors,
for the squad.
A good attitude and great smile were top criteria for
this coach. She also focused on their endurance and ability
to remember the cheers they had just one day to learn for
Cureton, now practicing with her squad for almost two
months, is extremely happy with their progress. The girls
give 100% and all get along well with each other. Camaraderie
and team spirit go hand-in-hand with this sport.
Cureton, an Arizona native, grew up in Williams. She
brings many of the cheers she learned in high school to the
team. The girls brainstorm and add their own nuances as well
as cheers from other schools they attended. Many squad members
have been cheerleaders or taken dance before. This, of course,
lends itself to their overall performance.
Practicing a few times a week, Cureton gets right in
there with her squad. “My philosophy is, ‘if I can’t do it,
I won’t ask them to,’” she said. This could be a challenge
for the girls, since it appears there isn’t much Cureton won’t
try! A challenge they take seriously while they’re having
a great deal of fun.
Practice begins with a warm up and stretch, followed
by gymnastics, jumps, cheer routines, stunts and conditioning.
Cureton, who attends gymnastic classes once a week on her
own, has her gymnastics coach Tom Cadigan work with the squad
Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming USA United
Sport Association Camp. This four-day camp held at the NAU
campus will help to fine-tune the girls skills.
Cureton is determined to have 20 cheers by the beginning
of school. Based on what I’ve seen of her team, I’d be surprised
if they didn’t.
Watching them practice is a joy in itself. These are
very motivated and focused young women. Cureton is quite proud
of them and, no doubt, the football and basketball teams will
be as well.
Cureton considers a future in nutrition and personal
training but is focused on what she loves doing now. Besides
coaching the cheerleaders, she works as Animal Control Officer
for the Sedona Police Department.
Cureton stressed the need for community support for
the cheerleaders. The expense of their uniforms and other
needs come solely from the Booster Club and fundraisers. To
raise money, the girls have had rummage and bake sales and
local car washes. Keep your eyes open for these activities
to lend your support. Cheerleaders in bikinis holding car
wash signs should be easy to spot. And supporting such a worthwhile
activity should be easy to do.
For those wanting to donate time or money, call Rena