RANDOLPH, NJ- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Nov 3 that all indoor sports would be postponed until Jan 2, 2021, leaving the Randolph High School Competition Cheerleading team trying to figure out how to make the most of their shortened season.

Normally the team practices from mid-August to February in preparation to attend the National High School Cheerleading Competition ( NHSCC ) in Orlando, Florida. Although they have not been able to practice for the last few weeks, most of the team have made efforts to stay active.

Senior Brooke Leonard has been doing what she can with this extra time off to stay ready for the season. “I work out frequently doing floor exercises and running on my treadmill,” said Leonard. “I’ve been practicing tumbling as well.”

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With the limited time spent together this season, it has been tough for the isolated cheerleaders to build team chemistry. Normally, the team's strong bond is created during their four-day sleep-away camp in mid-August, which was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the summer we were not able to make our yearly trip to Pine Forest. That was a big loss, because this was when we get to bond as a team and work on new skills for the upcoming season,” said Senior Brianna DeBrito when asked how missing this camp has affected the team.

Despite the multitude of pandemic-related setbacks, Senior Erin Schlusberg is staying as optimistic she can about the season. “I feel strongly about the team’s potential this season and am proud of the overall positive outlook.”

Senior Maddie Plansky is excited to resume practices in January because she sees a bright future for the team.

“All I want to do is be with the team and practice because I think we have so much potential,” said Plansky “The rest of the team is also feeling excited to get back into the gym to finish their routines and hopefully start competing.”

The Competition Cheerleading team is known for attending NHSCC every year and has no plans on ending that trend this season. In order to qualify for Nationals, the team must earn a bid at a Regional UCA competition. However, due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Universal Cheerleading Association is allowing teams that took part in Nationals in 2020 to obtain an automatic bid to nationals.

Despite the prospect that they will most likely attend virtually, the team is still excited to have the opportunity to compete in some form at Nationals. Practices are expected to resume following Winter Break, in the first few days of January.

Editor's Note: Kate Freund is a Junior at RHS, participating in a Journalism program with TAPinto Randolph.