Ohana Over Everything


Skylar Hujda

I can attest to the fact that Lincoln-Way West’s Varsity Cheerleading team is the hardest-working group of athletes I have ever performed with. The cheer program has continued to be successful and has been able to perform routines that have progressively gotten more challenging each season. After coming off of a third-place state finish in 2021, our West cheer team came back this season stronger and more determined than ever to better last year’s finish. People underestimate how much time, effort and dedication goes into a season. We practice for 9 months, six times a week, sometimes for three, even four hours, to bring our routine together. Every athlete on this team has put a ton of time and effort into this sport. We all work hard towards one goal: to have that perfect routine. And when you want something that badly, you push yourself and your teammates to make it happen.

Last season all of our competitions were online. This season we performed live, and we were ready. The cheer program was unstoppable and placed in the top three in all of our regular season competitions. Each week leading up to sectionals and state we continued to push ourselves and each other to try and land that perfect routine. We went to Edwardsville, IL, to compete in sectionals and finished first, earning a bid to the state finals in Bloomington, IL.

Competing in state was a new experience for most of us. The arena was huge and full of fans from all over the state; it was amazing, and I was proud to share the experience with this team. Making it to state was only one of our goals, and once there we had to compete against the top 25 teams in Illinois. The feeling of performing in such an important competition in front of all of those fans is indescribable. We went out and gave everything we had to an extremely difficult routine. Unfortunately, things don’t always go your way, and we ended up finishing 13th, which was not what we were hoping for. As a team, we were still proud of how well the rest of our season went and left state with are heads held high.

I could not be more proud of my teammates for everything we accomplished this year. We made it through injuries and rough times, putting all the energy we had into this one very thing. I guarantee that the Lincoln-Way West cheer team will always consist of teammates that will be there for each other no matter what the situation. We call ourselves Ohana, which means family, because no matter what we go through, we have each other there for support. The cheer team relies on our amazing coach, Nicole White. She has been such a huge part of the West cheer program and the backbone of the team. Coach White treats all of her athletes like her own family and she puts so much of her own time into the cheer team. I am so proud of everything this program has accomplished over the last 4 years. I was honored to have been a part of it and I cannot wait to see what they accomplish in the future.