The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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It takes more than a smile: Xavier spiritlines’ journey to national champions

Xavier Prep’s spiritline poses with one of its two trophies from wins in Medium Show Cheer Advanced and Super Crowdleader at USA Spirit Nationals on February 16-18 in Anaheim, California. These athletes have been preparing for the 2024 national competition since August of 2023. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Van Arsdall)

At the 2024 USA Spirit Nationals in Anaheim, California, the Spiritline Gators won first in the nation for their Show Cheer and Super Crowdleader routines, and sixth in the nation for Varsity Pom. The two groups within Xavier’s spiritline are cheer and pom, both of whom practice from August to February in preparation for their national routines.

“We do tryouts in April, and after tryouts they start practicing right away. They’ll practice through May and June, and they do take the month of July off, but that’s it. Then they get back to work in August,” head coach Monica Gaspar said.

Once an athlete makes the team, the road to nationals begins immediately. The entirety of the season’s work is all for one competition.

“From the start of August we have been practicing from 6:20 a.m. to the end of first period at 9 a.m. and most Saturdays from 9 noon, so you must really have a great work ethic on spiritline because the hours it requires can be daunting for many,” said cheer captain Joslyn Jenkins ’24.

The time commitment alone required for Spiritline is what makes them such a cohesive, successful team. They spend almost every morning together for seven months, naturally creating strong bonds between the girls. This unity and trust is essential to complete the dangerous stunts and skills within the routines.

“If someone isn’t in the right headspace, it can be dangerous for others due to stunting and what not,” Jenkins said. “A lot of trust is required in cheer because of the dangerous stunts. It can be hard to trust someone you don’t get along with, so we really take pride in the positivity and effortless bonds we make.”

As one of the only year-round sports offered at Xavier, it is essential for the cheer and pom Gators to have the drive to win. This comes from a shared love of the sport, and love for each other.

Rachel Loiselle ’26, a member of pom says she thinks this year’s team is super special. She says everyone works so well together, pushing teammates to become the best versions of themselves.

Cheer can often be viewed as the simple chanting and waving of pom-poms, but the commitment these athletes have to their sport proves it is so much more. 

The athletes perform and compete in smaller competitions in order to prepare for state. This gives the girls an opportunity to clean their routines and get a rough idea of their competition at nationals. 

“Each year the competition gets tougher and tougher as each team comes up with new innovative choreography and skills,” Loiselle said.

As nationals approached, the Gators continued to face challenges, such as a stomach flu going around the team, shared Gaspar. “They knew they had to step it up and pull it together and make changes that they weren’t ready for.” She believes these circumstances pushed the team harder than they ever would have had nothing gone wrong. 

Despite every challenge the Gators faced, they continued to battle and came out on top.

“​​Being able to end our journey on a win feels so rewarding. Like all this dedication after four years was finally worth it.” said Jenkins. “All the underclassmen feel the same and want to end on the same note their senior years, so they do it for us and in the future. The team they lead will do it for them too.”

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