The cheer squads for the Quincy winter sports are ready to go, after an awkward season of sports dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, things lean a little closer to normal, and the girls with the pompoms are all pumped up.

On the basketball side, 10 girls turned out, with eight of them coming from football cheer.

“Last year, I think they had eight to 10, too,” said April Longwill, first-year coach of the hoops cheer squad. With the changes between offense and defense occurring fast in basketball, it helps to have experienced cheerleaders back, she added.

This year, there will be no “swing” cheerleaders, meaning cheerleaders who go back and forth between hoops and wrestling, to avoid confusion.

“It’s been a confusing year already, but we will probably allow it maybe in the next year,” Longwill said. The schedule will probably be busy enough as it is, with two trips to Omak and one trip to Tonasket.

In addition, the team is looking for a new Jack the Rabbit mascot.

“We are looking for someone who is going to be flexible, to be able to go to all the home games, we have 11 home games,” Longwill said. “Someone who’s responsible, dependable.”

As far as how athletic of a mascot the team wants this year, Longwill said that didn’t really matter “Jack comes in all sizes,” she said, adding that people interested should contact her during cheer practice.

On the wrestling side, all six girls returned to the squad, and it’s exciting to see them prepare for wrestling season with a full slate of matches on JV and varsity, and during the right time of the year, wrestling cheer coach Chelsea Wallace said.

“There’s a lot more opportunities for the girls to show off their skill set,” she said. Although the cheerleaders are split between two sports, the practices take place jointly, with the girls working out and running together. The team also learns many of the cheers as one group so that they can fill in for each other if need arises.

The season opens on Dec. 4 in Omak.

“It’ll be a long day of cheering,” Wallace said. Long bus trips notwithstanding, there’s a positive vibe among the girls.

“We got a really great group of girls, they work together really well,” Wallace said. “They are all very willing to help one another and step in when needed.”

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