One year removed from not competing, the Woodward High School Cheer team will compete at State this season. In her second season as head coach, Sarah McDowell is optimistic about her squad after finishing 2nd at the 6A Large Coed Regional in Broken Arrow.
“The squad works hard when I ask them to,” McDowell said. “They can have fun, but they know when it’s time to be serious and get to work.”
Leading the Boomers 18-person roster is junior captain Vaneza Garcia followed by senior co-captain Halle Waibel. Following the captains are a trio of freshmen, who McDowell has spoken highly of throughout the 2022 season. Freshmen Madison Harmon, Kaybrie Rivera, and Hadley Carey have stepped up as underclassmen for the Boomers this season and make for an exciting future at Woodward.
“Madison is always in a good mood and making people laugh,” McDowell said. She’s very positive. Kaybrie is not afraid to try anything we ask her to. Hadley is an amazing gymnast. She definitely has some amazing skills to showcase.”
Also competing for the Boomers are seniors Angelica Martinez and Kaylan Swindle, juniors Emily McDowell, Haley Drew, Vanessa Fraire, Erin Underwood, Julia Souchek, and Jair Bencomo, sophomores Kamryn Jones, Olivia Pingry, Zathan Clingenpeel, and Bryce Coker, and freshman Alyssa Barnett.
Alongside McDowell is her assistant coach, Taylor Applebee, who is also in her second-year coaching at Woodward.
“Taylor is always pushing the team to test their limits and learn new skills,” McDowell said.
McDowell and Applebee have shown the Boomers what it takes to be the best they can be and instilled in them the work, time, and effort it takes to become a championship team.
“You have to be committed individually and to your team,” McDowell said. “You have to be willing to do all the extra things that it takes to become your best.”