With the fall sports season coming to an end, two winter sports seem to take their places in the hearts of passionate SIS athletes: basketball and cheerleading. The competition for a spot in the traditionally esteemed basketball team is intense, while cheerleading similarly upholds exacting standards to select the most enthusiastic and talented members in rallying the school spirit. Regardless of the tryout results, however, there is no doubt that both sports would have a successful and exciting season this year.
“I am really excited and nervous for the upcoming cheerleading tryouts,” said Hannah Yoo (10), a former JV cheerleader. “I used to think that cheerleading is a lax and relatively easy sport, focused more on its appearance and uniforms than the actual quality of the performance. From my experience last year, I learned the hard way that cheerleading is a demanding and even dangerous sport. Preparation for tryouts not only requires physical stamina, strength, and flexibility, but a positive mentality and spirit. I wish I can make the cut for varsity this year and gain much more appreciation for our work.”
The cheerleading open clinics initiated on Oct. 12th and held its official tryouts on Nov. 2nd, welcoming both new and old members to embrace the challenges of a rigorous cheer season. Under the supervision of Coach Hannah Han and leadership of Jina Kim (12), Joyce Kim (12), and Helaine Lee (12), 16 cheerleaders receiving the highest ratings on a purely meritocratic scoring system are to make the varsity team regardless of their age or prior experience. The tryouts consist of numerous components: a loud and clear voice synchronized with sharp chant motions, composed presentation, supportive and joyful cheer attitude, rhythmic and powerful dancing, cheer jumps, and advanced tumbling.
“We have up to 40 cheerleaders trying out this year, the greatest number of applications we ever received from especially the freshman class,” said Jina Kim (12), varsity cheerleading captain. “Despite the increase in numbers, we could not finalize a junior varsity coach at the moment. This is going to make the tryouts an even more challenging process and we have greater expectations for those who make the cut. We will be specifically looking for those that demonstrate a genuine pride and passion for cheerleading with a professional and bright attitude.”
Concurrently, the basketball courts are filled with excited athletes ready to kick off the promising winter season. As one of the most popular and competitive sports in SIS, basketball is a sport that demands athletes to train often in open gyms from summer break to prepare for the long season ahead. The seniors are usually the ones leading basketball clinics with drills and practices to teach aspiring athletes the importance of team play, accuracy, posture, and use of space on the basketball court. The tryouts took place on Oct. 30th with only 12 players able to make the cut for both varsity and junior varsity teams.
“In basketball tryouts, we have players participate in a series of drills like dribbling, passing, and shooting to see where they are,” said Coach Chris Koester, varsity basketball coach. “We pay attention especially to the shooting form during the tryouts and make students play a 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 scrimmage to see how they handle real ball situations. This is so that we can get a clearer and holistic picture of the student’s abilities since some players might not do so well during drills but play fantastically on court, while others do not know how to apply their individual skills in a game setting.”