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Cheerleaders: Don’t be late

June 23, 2019 - 00:00
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New coach putting stamp on program during summer

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    Kingfisher Yellowjackets

After less than a month as the new Kingfisher High School cheerleading coach, Sarah Keeth and several of the team’s members say the transition has been a smooth one.

For the cheerleaders, summer is the most important time for preparation, according to Keeth.

For that reason, Keeth said she is laying out a foundation of expectations and goals throughout this summer that she hopes the team will adopt and implement throughout the busy school year and competitive season.

The team is currently practicing at 5:30 a.m. four days a week, said Keeth.

“I want to teach them life skills that will be valuable off of the mat and sidelines,” she said. “For every minute a girl is late to practice the entire team has to run.”

Keeth’s efforts to teach the importance of responsibility have not gone unnoticed by the team.

“Practices are scheduled months ahead. To take vacation, we put in time-off requests to be approved by Sarah. She is helping teach us to manage time and be accountable to our team, like a job,” said Keely Franks, a senior cheerleader.

Each senior on the team has also been assigned a task.

“For example, I am in charge of the budget and organization,” said Macey Mulherin, a senior on the team.

Other duties given to the seniors include taking attendance, making calendars, communicating with the parents, planning events and running the social media pages.

“This helps her, but also allows us to put our mark on the team as seniors so that we leave a positive influence,” said Franks.

The focus has not just been on life lessons, however.

“The girls have been very coachable and every practice has been productive,” said Keeth, who is taking over after the resignation of Tiffanie Barnett, who guided KHS to state in each of her three years.

“Although we have not been with Sarah for a long period of time, it is apparent that it is all business when it comes to stepping on the mats and not stopping until you meet perfection,” said senior cheerleader, Elizabeth Perdue. “She sees potential in our team and pushes us to succeed to the best of our ability.”

Mulherin added that Keeth has brought a new perspective to the team.

“She believes our team is as weak as its weakest link and that we all need to work together to make it work. She also believes in conditioning and no slacking off,” she said.

Keeth explained that while practices are going well, not everything about the transition has been easy.

“I wasn’t here for tryouts and there are currently 27 girls on the team, but I can only put 20 girls on the mat for the state competition,” she said. “One of the hardest parts has been having to come in and make cuts while I’m still trying to get to know the girls and their skill levels.”

Keeth expressed appreciation for the support she has received since she began coaching.

“It has been such a blessing to have such a supportive administration and supportive parents,” she said. “Being from a big city, I am excited for the small-town support and community feel on Friday nights.”

The team may look a little different on the sidelines this year, according to Franks and Mulherin.

“I think the skill level of the team this year will be better than before. We will have solid tumbling and Sarah knows how to teach us what needs done,” said Mulherin.

Franks added, “I am excited about the new techniques and ideas she brings to the team. Be watching for a different style to our current Friday night cheers.”

The seniors also expressed that they feel Keeth’s personality is a good fit for the team.

“She has a fun, outgoing personality, and a strong faith in the good Lord above,” said Perdue. “She is serving as a great example for a new foundation of respect and confidence among ourselves and others.”

“Her personality is great,” said Mulherin. “She has no fear of stepping in when we need assistance and she is an encouraging, smiling woman.”