Betsi Taylor wanted to change Seahawk fans’ perception of cheerleaders.
Myrtle Beach High cheerleaders were interested in the same thing.
“They wanted more than just being kind of considered a little club,” Taylor said. “They wanted to be treated like athletes.”
So in 2018, Taylor and two other coaches restored the competitive cheer program at Myrtle Beach. She said the former cheer team stopped competing more than a decade ago, though at one time it was well known in the state. She’d like that to be the case again.
“There’s a legacy there,” she said. “They were very good. They were always within the Top 5 at lower state, and they were always at state. And so we’re trying to kind of keep that name and that legacy alive.”
So far, students have embraced the concept.
“When we first started, we had no idea about any of the competitive part of cheer," said Lily Young, a senior who was recruited from the sideline cheer unit last year. “We had a bunch of people come in, and we hired them to try to teach us what we needed to do. They showed us these crazy stunts that we could not even do. But at the end of the season, we ended up doing them really well. And I think this year we’ll progress a lot more.”
Alexis Herndon, another senior, said that after missing out on the state competition last year, the Seahawk team is motivated to reach that goal in 2020.
“We have a really good chance, especially with our new girls,” she said. “We have a lot of good talent.”
Of course, no one knows what impact COVID-19 will have on state competitions, or even local ones. But the popularity of the sport at MBHS bodes well for the program’s future.
“It’s really growing,” the coach said. “The first couple of years were definitely building years, but this year we’re really excited to have the entire varsity team on board.”