Pryor Cheer Team Spotlight - Presented by Hookers Sports Grill
By Travis Sloat
Ellen Gwartney has been the head cheer coach at Pryor High School for three years, and she said there’s something she wants everyone to know about cheerleaders in general, and her team specifically.
“I often think people don’t realize how hard cheerleaders work,” she said. “These girls — and every cheer squad — put their hearts and souls into everything they do. They work hard at every practice. They cheer loudly at every game. They love what they do and who they do it for.”
Gwartney said in addition to that, her squad this year has achieved something every coach desires.
“I believe my team’s biggest strength is how they are bonded together beyond cheerleading,” she said. “Our practices are not just spent working on cheer. Yes, we spend the majority of the practice working on skills, stunting, dances and workouts. I like to incorporate team bonding activities as well. I give the girls silly homework assignments. This could include anything from bringing me a knock-knock joke to bringing a list of things they admire about their teammates. We often say that in five or ten years, no one will remember they were a good cheerleader, but everyone will remember if they were a good person.”
Just like any good organization, Gwartney will readily admit that she has help in place to make sure the team is successful.
“I have a wonderful team mom, Rachel Gilbo, who works very hard setting up sponsorships for our team dinners each week,” she said. “It’s another opportunity for the girls to bond with each other and who doesn’t like bonding over food? We truly appreciate the great support we have received from the community.”