NDP varsity pom and cheer excel

High standards and long hours of practice pay off in competition


NDP Varsity Pom at the first home football game of the 2017 season. (Tracy Cavendish/Special to the Seraphim)

By Hannah Duffy, Staff Writer

“It was down to the top two schools, and I felt like my heart was going to stop,” said Madison Coder, “I did not want our name to be called for second place. My heart was racing and I was clenching my teammates’ hands. Suddenly, Cactus Shadows High School was called for second place. I started to shake and the emotions I felt were overwhelming. We were the 2016 State Champions.”

This exciting moment exemplified the high quality of Notre Dame Preparatory Pom and Cheer.

Throughout the past few decades, pom and cheer have changed from pure sideline cheering to athletic and competitive sports. NDP Pom and Cheer practice year-round, so that they are prepared for a full year of games, community events, and competitions.

For many members, practices began years ago. Coder, a four year varsity pom member and captain said, “I decided to do pom because I have been dancing since I was three years old, and I thought it would be a great way to get involved in the school while also doing something I love.”

NDP Varsity Pom become 2016 State Champions. (Tracy Cavendish/Special to the Seraphim)

Coder and her team came back and won state in 2016 after a devastating loss in 2015.

“My worst memory was when Annika Vaughn broke her foot on stage,” said Coder. Vaughn, the 2016-2017 captain, slipped and broke her foot while competing at Arizona Interscholastic Association State, which cost NDP Pom the victory.

“I was so excited to come back the following year and show everyone what we could do, and that allowed us to be 2016 state champions,” said Coder.

This victory made NDP Varsity Pom seven-time state champions. As captain, Coder strives to lead the team to always be their best. No matter the outcome, she will be proud.

When asked her goal for her final year on NDP Pom, Coder said, “I want to win state and place top five at United States of America Nationals in Anaheim, but I always want to have fun in the process.”

The varsity pom team is composed of 14 girls performing at games, and nine who compete at competitions throughout the year. The nine girls who are on the competition team specialize in turns, leaps, and jumps. Next year, Coder plans on pursing pom at the University of Arizona.

Four-year varsity pom member, Courtney Cavendish, decided to join pom because she loves dance and wanted to be involved in the NDP community.

Cavendish said, “My favorite memory was winning state my sophomore year, and my worst … well on Bemis Field we had to run our dance over and over again in 110 degree weather.”

Cavendish, a senior, wants to make her final year the most memorable and enjoy every second with her team.

Still in regret about not being able to compete at AIA State her freshman year, due to a pulled hamstring, Cavendish said, “my other goals are to win state for the second time, as well as place at nationals in California.”

When asked what pom means to her, Cavendish said, “Being on pom is constantly doing what I love and being surrounded by girls who are like my sisters. For me, pom is a dedicated year-long sport full of blood, sweat and tears.”

Pom practices approximately 12 hours per week after school, with one weekly morning practice. NDP Pom begins their season at the start of August with tryouts, followed by a weeklong boot camp to prepare for a long and difficult season ahead.

Two-year NDP Cheer member, Katie White, decided to join the team her freshman year because it would be a great way to involved. This year, cheer is made up of 12 girls who perform at games and competitions. White’s favorite memory from the previous year was going to nationals in Anaheim with her team, and the worst memory was not qualifying for state in 2017.

NDP Varsity Cheer performing at a football game. (Aimee White/Special to the Seraphim)

When asked what she wants to do differently this year, White said, “I would change my attitude. You always need a positive attitude every day when going into cheer practice, and I am not always positive.”

White is hopeful this attitude change will cause her to be stronger and more hardworking. As for the AIA State Qualifier, White said, “We have to place top ten to qualify for state, and the whole team wants it just as badly as I do. I want to show everyone last year was a mistake and that we are capable for competing with these top schools.”

In order to prepare, cheer practices approximately 10 hours per week after school, and the team does weight training two mornings before school.

Coach Kasey Hoyer has been the NDP Varsity Cheer coach for three years. Prior to coaching at NDP, Hoyer won AIA State three times with CSHS. Hoyer chose to coach at NDP because she admired the fact that the school not only focuses on athletics, but also on education and religion.

NDP Varsity Cheer at first away football game of the 2017 season. (Aimee White/Special to the Seraphim)

When asked about the team’s potential this season, Hoyer said, “I think the team will do great at competitions this year. The team is very motivated, hardworking and willing to learn and push themselves to high levels.”

Hoyer wants to continue to learn and grow as a coach this season in order to help the team succeed.

NDP Varsity Pom and Cheer have a big year ahead of them. From cheering at games, to pep rallies, to competitions, varsity pom has always been a top competitor with pressure riding on them this season. NDP Varsity Cheer is committed to work hard with hopes to shine this year.