2022 Niles West Cheerleading Home Invitational

Niles West Wolves cheerleaders taking a quick picture after a recent invite.

By Gia Bexes, Staff Writer

Both varsity and junior varsity cheer have been working hard all season long, practicing many hours to prepare for their invites. One of these invites being the Niles West invite that took place this Sunday, Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. With over 50 schools in attendance, the cheerleaders were very excited to get onto the mat and compete.

For some cheerleaders, this invite was one of their firsts due to the pandemic.

“The season has been great, especially since last year we didn’t get to experience a full competition season because it was mostly online. It’s definitely been something we have had to adapt to, but I am overall excited to be back doing what I love to do,” junior Lindsey Ongyaco said.

The Niles West invite has been an ongoing event for years. For sophomore Danica Calalang, participating in this event has always been on the checklist.

“In all honesty, I’ve never been able to experience an in-person Niles West invite. However, I’ve seen many pictures and videos and heard many amazing things about our invite, and I hope to make this invite as great as previous ones have been,” Calalang said.

Athletes have always found home invites to be special, especially the environment of competing at your own school.

“It’s my first season that I’m actually competing and so far it’s very exciting!” sophomore Emily Pham said.

In a cheerleading competition routine, there are several different elements—one being stunting.

“Stunting is by far my favorite part of cheerleading, however, stunting is also the most dangerous part of it. As a collective program, we’ve had many injuries due to stunting. Even though we’ve had these setbacks, I feel like we all came back from these mistakes better, stronger, and more unified as a team,” Calalang added.

As for Pham, hitting stunts and growing as an athlete are the set goals.

“A goal of mine for this invite is for my team to hit their stunts flawlessly and to have fun while doing it. Specifically for this season, I look forward to growing as an athlete, getting used to the competition environment and growth for my team!” Pham said.

Since COVID is still a present-day situation, it was important to still place guidelines for spectators, athletes and coaches.

“Our coaches were very adamant about keeping people safe from COVID, so masks were enforced and spectators were not allowed,” sophomore Maddy Chazen said.

After both teams competed, JV and varsity both helped out running the show as hosts of the event.

“Overall, the teams and other schools seemed to have a lot of fun,” Chazen said.

With that being said, both JV and varsity kicked off their first home invite with a bang. Varsity took home 5th place and JV placed 2nd, overall the Niles West Cheer had a successful weekend.