Newest Varsity Cheerleaders to The Squad

Abby Fisher, Staff Writer

In Fall 2022, Roswell welcomed three freshmen onto the varsity cheer team: Katelyn Willis, Nayland Ryczek, and Romy Teat. Varsity cheer teams usually consist of older and more experienced players rather than junior varsity or freshmen teams. Each cheerleader shared their experience and hard work that it took them to be on the team. 

Willis describes being on varsity as a freshman was, “Hard, [and she] won’t lie.” For her it was, “Mentally and physically, but it was worth it. Everyone was supportive and sweet, and we had so many great memories together that all made it worth it.” 

Ryczek and Teat had similar answers both explaining it was hard but also very worth it. “Being a freshman on a varsity team was a big jump from eighth grade cheer,” said Teat, “Everyone on the team was much more together and connected. There was a lot more pressure since they expected more but the people and coach helped to guide you through it and they would be understanding if you messed up instead of getting upset.” 

Ryczek cited that she had a very positive experience as well: “Being on varsity was honestly better than any other cheer team I have been on. All the other cheerleaders were very supportive; I love them all very much.” Having has done cheer since she was five years old Ryczek said, “At first I thought it was just something to do but as I got further into cheer, I loved it so much.”  

The varsity cheer team at their first competition. Front row, fourth person from left in is Katelyn Willis, fifth from left is Romy Teat. In the back row, sixth from left is Nayland Ryczek. (Credit: Caroline Manus)

Although Ryczek has done cheer for a long time, she did not participate in competition cheer for Roswell this year, “I already had varsity practice every single day, plus tumbling, and stunt class, it was already kind of hard adding school into all of that… But now that I am used to the schedule, I will be on a competition team next year.” To her, the biggest gain that came out of putting work and effort into the team were the rewards. “I have much more confidence in myself.” Ryczek said, she also, “Improved so much in cheer, and [has] better flying sills.” Specifically, Ryczek has recently gotten her full, which is a back 360 flip and a 360 twist. 

Teat and Willis chose to do competition cheer this year for Roswell. Willis has done sideline since second grade and competition in sixth and eighth grade. The schedules for varsity this year were described as, “Sideline Monday, Friday and competition [practice] was Monday, Wednesday, Thursday sometimes. Walk through Fridays and competitions on Saturday.” said Willis. 

From Willis’ experience, “The practices were rough, as we went from running miles, to doing full outs.” Although they were tough practices the best thing out of it for Willis were, “The friendships and how there was always someone I knew in the halls, and we felt like a family.” 

From Teats experience as a freshman on the varsity team she explained, “I learned to come out of my shell and be more open with people around me. It also showed me a new perspective that I would not have learned somewhere else.” Teat has now done cheer for three years, in her time cheering she explains, “Before varsity everyone had their little groups, and it was not a very uplifting setting.” 

Furthermore, Teat says practices for varsity, “would go both good and bad at times… but our coach never let us give up and would always try her hardest to push us even when we could not believe in ourselves.” In addition to cheering at Roswell, Teat also participates cheering for Georgia All Star, “My weeks consist of varsity on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I do GA All Star Thursdays and Sundays along with a tumble class on Monday and a private [lesson].”