Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

Malta Cheerleading: Coach Pankratz recaps cheer seasons


Malta junior Kailey Crowder is lifted up during a Malta basketball game. Photo by Pierre Bibbs.

The 2019-2020 cheerleading year was a fun, crazy, and bittersweet year full of emotions. Being my fourth year coaching, it was the year my first freshmen were seniors. I am so proud of everything they've achieved in these past four years. I can't help but be very grateful for all the growth I've gone through as a coach with them by my side and I cannot believe they'll be off to college this fall. I hope they bring smiles to others like they brought to me.

This year, the cheer program was in rebuild mode with a lot of new girls during both seasons. The returning girls spent a lot of time being amazing leaders with patience and awesome leadership.

The fall season was a bit chilly this year with it raining almost every football game, but the cheerleaders were still out there smiling during every game. Volleyball cheerleading is growing with more stunting and cheering being allowed during games.

We are so thankful we got the opportunity to travel post-season to Red Lodge for football as well as Glasgow and Wolf Point for volleyball. It's exciting to see fall cheering getting bigger every year and the girls being able to showcase more of their hard work.

Winter season was full of ups and downs as we got a lot of new stunts going. With only having five returning girls, many practices were spent teaching cheers, chants, choreography, and updating stunt techniques. We struggled with sickness and injuries more than other seasons, making it hard to catch up. These girls really buckled down to show the community that they aren't just a pep club, but athletes as well. At times, when a stunt just wouldn't go right, there was a lot of frustration. But this group of girls was so in sync with each other that it wouldn't be long that the frustration would be followed by triumph and laughter.

Throughout the season, I heard more compliments and encouraging words than ever and looked forward to practice every day. Their halftime routine was learned in only a week with adjustments being made almost every game. I will never forget all the smiles and looking around that was made when we first entered the Civic Center.

The last game I cheered at was in Butte, so it brought back a lot of joyful memories. I didn't have the crazy ending that my seniors had though and I hope they're still able to look back and smile at the memory. I have to give a huge thank you to the school administration for helping me this year, and Kelly Orahood for chaperoning and helping in any way possible.

I had the best parents during both seasons that made my job so much easier in times of full-blown stress. Also, thank you to Trey for understanding that my time spent away from home isn't easy, but that coaching is something I love and cherish. The returning cheerleaders and I have hope that the program will keep building as much as it has in the past couple of years and can't wait to see everyone at the opening game this fall.


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