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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton cheerleaders compete at nationals after successful competition schedule

Mar 01, 2018 10:10AM ● By Julie Slama

Brighton cheerleaders celebrate their first win of the season at Cottonwood High. (Brighton High School)

Brighton High has something to cheer about — its cheer squad.

After three straight wins, Brighton cheer was slated to compete in the USA cheer nationals Feb. 23–25 in Anaheim, California.

“I am full of confidence they’ll do well based on how well the they’ve done here,” said Aubree Gustafson, who has coached the team along with her sister, McCall Glick, for the past three years. “This year’s team wants to be here.”

That comes after last year’s squad didn’t compete. 

“We took the year off to basically rebuild the program. There had been a number of coaches through the years so we wanted them to focus on techniques before they learned halftime routines,” said Gustafson.

Attitudes also changed.

“This team has the respect of their peers at school not just in cheer, but in real life. They’re disciplined, responsible, caring and have a positive attitude. It’s basically a turnaround in the program and it shows. The team has confidence in each another and when they’re here, they want to work,” she said.

Gustafson said that under the leadership of three seniors, the team is ready for practices and is willing to do what it takes to be a successful team.

The results have been evident as at they won their large co-ed division at the USA Cheer open at South Towne Expo earlier this year.

“It was super fun and we had a large support from our student body,” Gustafson said.

It was the third win of the season, after winning two earlier open competitions.

Gustafson said the team hasn’t competed in the high school competitions this or last year, but they are planning to return next year.

“We perform our routines at halftimes and on the sidelines as we cheer on the Bengals,” she said.

The cheer season starts with three-hour morning practices beginning in May and stretching through the summer, taking the month of July off. 

“We work mostly on skills, and then get into our routines,” she said.

The skills, such as a standing back handspring, are part of the try-outs that are held in mid-March. Students who want to audition need to be in good academic standing, have two teacher recommendations and be able to learn and perform routines.

Gustafson, who cheered for Brighton, the University of Utah and was a member of the Utah Jazz stunt team, and Glick, who cheered for both Brighton and Skyline before being part of USA cheer for 10 years, know it just isn’t about competing, but also bonding. Through a toy drive during the holidays to a pool party and barbecue, the team became close, Gustafson said.

“Our motto is ‘all in.’ And we mean that. We say it in a huddle at every competition and practice, we wear it on our shirts and we include everyone at all our activities. It’s been a dynamic change in our attitude and our team’s success this year,” she said.

The Bengals season ends with a showcase of the varsity, 11-member JV and 11-member freshman/sophomore teams at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 6 in the high school gym.