PREP CHEER: ‘Hand it to God’: Hanceville’s Haylee Nethery excited for cheer season

Hanceville’s Haylee Nethery. (Courtesy of Haylee Nethery)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Hanceville junior cheerleader Haylee Nethery had an amazing experience in her first year cheering with the Bulldogs varsity squad last year and has learned so much from the experience so far.

“So far, it has been a very amazing experience. I have made some of the most amazing friends and created memories that I will cherish forever. My sophomore season was my very first year on the Hanceville varsity cheer team. I was immediately welcomed onto the team by very kind girls. Our coaches, Phamie Brown and Justina Radcliff, both encouraged me to socialize and get in on the fun. We are a smaller team, so we had our ups and downs during our competitions; yet we never let that kill our spirits. We received bids to Nationals, and we were very proud of our accomplishments. We always had smiles on our faces and cheered on our football and basketball team. If I had to explain Hanceville’s varsity squad, I would say we are all very supportive, encouraging, uplifting, and we have so much love for one another.”

She added,

“During my time on the varsity team, I’ve learned lots of things. I’ve learned to communicate with my teammates and other teams. I’ve learned to take constructive criticism and I’ve learned to be very coachable. Cheering has taught me to work well with others and to always try everyone’s ideas. I’ve learned to take accountability and fix your mistakes. Being one of the only upperclassmen on the team, I’ve learned to be a positive role model to look up towards. I have had a lot of personal growth the past two years with the team. Hanceville’s team has taught me to always be optimistic, no matter what. I’ve learned to never doubt yourself or anyone else on the team. This team has taught me that we are fully capable of overcoming whatever challenges God sends our way.”

Haylee is so blessed to get the chance to cheer with some amazing girls.

“It’s been so great. Abby Sharp and Josie Radcliff have definitely been some great mentors for me. Abby was my first friend on the cheer team when I made the squad. Each and every one of the girls are willing to work super hard for our goals. We would love to win the county competition this year and hopefully, compete well in other competitions too. When it comes to football and basketball season, we definitely keep our spirits up and lead the crowd and our teams towards big wins. The girls are always ready to help one another in any way they can. There’s been many times where the team will be frustrated with one another, and a girl will step up and give us a simple pep talk to help us get through it. The girls are very genuine and helpful to one another. We go by, ‘There is no ‘I’ in the word team’. We live through that quote. We are a team, so we strive for victories together. Our team is very special and one of a kind.”

She is so happy to get to cheer under some great coaches and has soaked up as much as she can from them.

“Our coaches have a bond with the team that’s unexplainable. We love our coaches so much. They are so helpful and help lead us towards success in and out of the gym. Mrs. Brown has encouraged me to take on new skills and gave me amazing opportunities in the cheer world. Mrs. Radcliff has also helped me in many ways,” Nethery said. “They both want each girl to succeed and do the best they can. They never doubt our skills and they always make sure we are very well taken care of. We recently just got back from attending UCA cheer camp at the University of Alabama and it was wonderful. Our coaches helped us place first in game day, first in crowd leading, and first in dance at camp. We are very thankful for our two coaches. They have never failed to support us and show up for us. Whenever there is a problem somewhere in a routine, they are quick to modify things and get the problem solved. I’ve learned to hand it to God and let Him do the rest through my coaches. They put our health and emotions first and make sure we’re all happy and healthy before anything else.”

Haylee has seen a tremendous amount of improvement from the team from last season until now.

“We have improved so much. We have gained many new skills. We have grown in our stunts and tumbling. When I first started competing on varsity, we had a lot to work on. We have many comments on our score sheets with tips on how to improve our routines,” She said. “We took all of the constructive criticism and built off of it. We took all of the tips and changed lots of things. We added new things into routines that would help. It took a lot of time and hard work to get to where we are now. We have truly put so much work and time into perfecting everything necessary. I’m very confident in the upcoming season for Hanceville varsity cheer.”

She has improved the most in a couple of things and worked on a lot in the summer to help get ready for the upcoming season.

“I’ve improved in a couple different ways. I’ve had to learn to be willing to try new positions. I’ve improved my trust within my team too. Recently, we’ve had to be very flexible and willing to try new things,” she said. “This season, I learned to be a flyer during stunts and it’s definitely something that took some time and effort. I feel that I’ve improved a lot since the first time I started flying. It’s not easy to pick up new skills quickly and excel in them, but with the support of my teammates, I have improved tremendously. We have had practices throughout the summer, and we’ve had multiple practices that focused mainly on stunting. That means I have had a lot of opportunities to better my skills to help my team.”

Haylee has set some goals for herself and the team this upcoming season and thinks this season will be a very special one for the Lady Bulldogs.

“One of my individual goals would be to let God lead me and let Him help my frustrations when we have problems on the team. I tend to get upset and doubt my own strength during practices/competitions, but I know God can and will help me through all of it. Our team goals are to be excellent cheerleaders, teammates, friends, and leaders. We would also like to be more involved in the community and help cheer on others around us. We would love to support the school in new ways. Another goal of ours is to give it our all at every competition and work our way towards the top. The Hanceville varsity cheer team is going to achieve new and exciting goals this year.”

She added,

“We will showcase our best skills. During our routine, you will see our good attitudes and hard work. Our team will have genuine smiles and excitement while cheering. It will be so fun to watch. We are also working on how to get the crowd more engaged in the game and cheers.”

She talked about a couple of role models that’s she blessed to have in her life.

“My biggest role model in cheer is Abby Sharp, who graduated last year. She was and continues to be my biggest role model. She was a captain for my sophomore year, and she taught myself and my team that determined minds will lead to greatness. She always wanted what was best for the team. Now that she’s graduated, I hope to shine the same light onto the underclassmen that she let shine onto me. Another role model is coach Ashley from CGCA. She has a hard, loving way of coaching, but it works wonders. Ashley has shown my team that you can’t give up when things get hard. She always makes sure we walk with faith and dignity within ourselves and our team. These women have made such a huge impact during my high school years. They have both shown me things I wouldn’t have seen if I weren’t a cheerleader.”

She talked about the best advice that someone ever gave her.

“Some of the best advice I have ever been given is to let God handle whatever is stressing you out. I think this is the best advice I’ve been given, because I have been able to pass on this advice to many others. God is bigger than any stress or worry you might have. God is capable of changing things in a split second. 1 Peter 5:7 says, ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you’. I feel like the advice of, ‘Let God handle whatever is stressing you out’, and this verse go hand in hand,” Nethery said. “The reason this advice has helped me so much is because it encourages me to sit back and realize that no matter what, it is God that will provide comfort and peace within the stressful situations.”

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