Beyond the Sidelines: A Passion for Cheer & Volunteering

This month’s Beyond the Sidelines story is featuring S! student Avery Collazo. Avery is a Klein Collins cheerleader and has been training with Coach Ashley and Sideline Spirit for nine years. Avery loves Sideline Spirit and Coach Ashley for being a positive role model in her life, and for teaching her to be a positive role model to others, on and off the field.

Avery also has a passion for volunteering and is a member of Legacy League. Legacy League is a Mother/daughter volunteer organization that strives to improve the quality of life within the Klein community through volunteer work. Most of Avery’s volunteer work is performed at the Abandon Animal Rescue. The Abandon Animal Rescue is a no kill animal shelter that provides care and adoption for animals that do not have a home of their own. Avery spends many days during her summer and afternoons during the school year volunteering at the shelter and has over 45 hours this year.

Avery continues her volunteer work at home by fostering kittens that are not old enough or healthy enough to live with the other cats at the shelter.

When Avery is not cheering or volunteering you might find her at the stable! She loves riding horses and spending time with her friends at Northside Christian Church.

Beyond the Sidelines: The Rah Rah Rodeo Sweetheart!

This month's Beyond the Sidelines story is featuring S! student, Myla Wagoner!! Myla is a very busy second grader. Not only does she tumble at Sideline and cheer for the AAYFDT Klein Sweethearts, she also competes in the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo!

 Myla has always been very active in the agriculture world by competing in stick horse races, mutton busting, and showing livestock. Myla received her first heifer for Christmas in 2013 and showed the heifer (named Peyton) at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March of 2014. Myla placed 1st in her class and won the Summer Intermediate Heifer division in the Miniature Hereford Open show!

When Myla is not cheering, she spends her days at the barn working with her heifers. These animals require hours of work to ensure they are well mannered and fitted (groomed) correctly for show. An afternoon at the barn includes catching & haltering the heifers, working with the heifers so they will walk with you on a halter, training the animal to set its feet in the correct position for show, bathing, brushing, and drying them with a special hair dryer, called a blower, just for cattle. More time gets spent on the heifer’s hair than most cheerleaders spend on their own hair!

Myla currently has 2 heifers-- a miniature Hereford and a Simmental.  Myla just received her second heifer this week! The new heifer is a red Simmental, and since the heifer is red and sweet Myla named her peppermint! The mini Hereford was recently bred and had its baby on Halloween. Myla named the calf Boo.

Beyond the Sidelines: When Hardwork & Determination Pay Off.


Tell us your cheer story...
My name is Allison Knodle. I am 13 years old and I have been cheering for 2 ½ years. When I started cheering, I was in the first grade and it was just an after school thing that I did once a week. Fast forward to 6th grade when I saw a girl that I knew selling t-shirts at Future Cougar Night (I attend Strack Intermediate and the cougars are our mascot). The girl's name was Avery Collazo and I met her at summer camp the year before. She told me that she was there for cheer. I thought, if Avery , who is pretty much a role model to me, can do it, why can’t I? So that’s when I started cheering again. 

Initially I attended classes at a competitive all-star gym for a few months, but they weren't really for me. Then, I found Sideline and never left! That was January of 2013, my 6th grade year. When tryouts came around, all of my friends made the team, literally! However, I did not and was shocked. So many people quit cheer after they didn’t make their teams, but I decided that I wasn’t going to be one of them. I started doing off campus P.E. at Sideline Spirit, training a minimum of 5 ½ a week. Sometimes I just stayed for other classes because I didn’t want to leave. I kind of lived there. 

Despite how often I was training, I still panicked about tryouts. I got my back handspring January 16, 2014 - 11 days before my set goal which really made me think I had a chance this year. But shortly after, my wrists began hurting, so I got wrist braces- the worst thing I’ve ever done. The pain grew worse and worse and as tryouts neared, I knew that I would have to wear my braces at tryouts. Everyday tryouts drew closer, I became more and more nervous.  

By Wednesday, the week of tryouts, I had the material memorized and on point. That particular day, all tryout candidates were to participate in a mock tryout in which we would be required to perform the tumbling pass that they planned to throw at tryouts. My heart raced as I waited in the tumbling line. I threw my pass and fell on my knees - but no wrist pain. I threw it again, and then one more time and landed it perfectly. When I walked into my solo tryout on Friday (I went last in my grade) I knew that my hard work would pay off.

At 9 o’clock on the dot, I saw my name on the list of 8th grade Strack cheerleaders. Ever since then, I’ve been so proud of myself for what I’ve done and what I am going to do. We had cheer camp in August, which I couldn’t have been more excited about, and I was captain for the 2nd football game. So, it’s going pretty well with cheer, and everything is going to be ok… which life has already proved to me. 

How did you prepare for cheer tryouts?
I took 5-6 classes a week at Sideline for a year including a tryout prep class called Spirit Bootcamp. I also participated in First 15 and Operation Tryout - tryout prep events at Sideline. 

What is your favorite aspect of cheerleading?
The dancing and facials! I get to look silly with an excuse :)

What is your most embarrassing cheer blooper? 
At our first game this year, I was so nervous that I kept forgetting the motions and how many times we do a cheer and I was really embarrassed. 

Describe what it means to be a cheerleader.  
We are a team. We are role models for younger students and we cheer on teams at sports events as well as serve our community.

How has cheer shaped you as a person? 
Cheer has taught me how to work harder than I have ever imagined to get where I want to be. I have also learned that there is no limit to what you can achieve.


Beyond the Sidelines: Making the team!

Kenzie Arent

Tell us about…

What school you tried out for:
I tried out for cheer at York Junior High - 8th grade, CISD

What you did to prepare for cheer tryouts:
The first year that I tried out for school cheer, which was last year, I prepared by attending a cheer workshop at York Junior High. I also attended Operation Tryout and FIRST 15 at Sideline Spirit. Prior to each of those clinics, I attended Spirit Bootcamp - a tryout prep program at Sideline Spirit twice a week. I am proud to say that I was one of the first two participants ever! This year, I had an entire season of cheering with my school, took tumbling classes at Sideline Spirit and I also attended FIRST 15. 

What it was like trying out for the very first time:
I was slightly nervous but more excited as I felt very prepared

Any obstacles that you had to overcome:
The first year that I tried out for school cheerleader, I had a broken hand/finger. I play club volleyball and was injured playing right before cheer tryouts. I had to tryout with a cast on my arm up to my elbow. This year, I was still really nervous because being on the team this year made me want it even more! Learning all of the material was a lot easier though.  It was also really fun helping the 7th graders with their dance and cheer.  A couple of them actually were at FIRST 15 at Sideline with me this year!!!

What your reaction was when you heard that you made the team:
I was glad that the waiting was over and excited for next year!

What you most looked forward to when you first made the team:
BOWS!!! New friends and lots of cheer!

What your favorite aspect of cheer is:
Tumbling and energizing the crowd!                        

Beyond the Sidelines: JV Klein Collins HS Cheer Captain, Lauren Whitehead, on Tryouts

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Hey girls! My name is Lauren and I'm captain of the junior varsity team at Klein Collins high school! Being a cheer leader is an awesome and exciting thing and I love it! With tryouts just around the corner I know you may be feeling a lot of emotions, especially if this is your first time to try out. But always stay confident! I've learned from personal experiences that confidence is the best thing you can have going in to a try out! The judges love to see big smiles and lots of confidence when you walk on to that mat.

I know you all may be nervous, excited and anxious etc, and those feelings are normal! Just remember to try your hardest and prove to the judges you deserve a spot on that team! There is no better feeling after you have learned all your material, and practiced all week to have it have it memorized and you're at the point where you feel comfortable doing it! I promise in the end all of your hard work will pay off!! Be confident and focus on YOU! Good luck!!!