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West Valley City Journal

Cheerleading teaches determination to Hunter youth

Jun 28, 2021 11:06AM ● By Greg James

Hunter Youth Cheer has grown from four girls to over 20 this season. (Photo courtesy of The Great Salt Lake Spirit Association)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

Give me a “T” for teamwork! Give me a “D” for determination! Give me another “D” for dedication! That could be the rallying cheer for Hunter Youth Cheer, a program where boys and girls learn teamwork through determination and dedication.

“I learned hard work and built some great friendships,” said former high school cheerleader Shauna Young.

“I was between eight and 10 years old when I started cheerleading,” former Hunter High cheerleader Caitlyn Seely said. “I did a class at a studio and learned some tumbling. When I got to junior high I did some competitive cheer and dance.”

Seely has helped establish Hunter Youth Cheer, an organization that is part of The Great Salt Lake Spirit Association. They are a sister group to Ute Conference football for cheerleading.

Competitive cheer incorporates stunts and cheering ability, winners of local events can travel across the country. Hunter has competed at Disneyland for national titles.

Hunter Youth Cheer accepts boys and girls ages 5-15. All abilities and skill levels are welcome.

“We start from the basics teaching them angles, some tumbling, stunts and cheers. We learn a routine and at the end of our season we have a competition against the other teams in the conference,” Seely said.

Cheerleading originated in the United States and now has an estimated 3.8 million participants. In 1997, interest exploded when ESPN broadcast the first national cheerleading competition. Since then popular movies like “Bring It On” have only escalated its support.

The Utah Cheer Team Coaches Association (UCTCA) has made a push recently to have cheerleading become a sanctioned sport by the Utah High School Activities Association. 

The youth program is the beginning step in helping it grow as a sport.

“Last season, we had four girls on the team and we took second place. So far this year we have 21 signed up and the conference is growing,” Seely said. “No skills are needed, we love beginners.”

Cheerleading is more than just standing on the sidelines.

“We represent West Valley and Hunter High School. It is important that cheerleaders be respectful and supportive, but most of all have fun,” Seely said.

This is the second year for Hunter Youth Cheer. Last season, because of COVID restrictions, they were not allowed to cheer at the Little League football games. This season will be different.

The cost covers uniforms, practice fees and competitions. Initially it will be three days a week. 

“Last year was weird, we could not cheer at games. Our parents still loved it, they supported us and stayed for practice. We had a showcase and the Hunter cheerleaders came and performed. They showed off all the stuff they have learned,” Seely said.

Becoming a cheerleader takes an enormous amount of time.

“I learned teamwork and respect for my teammates. My team last year was so good. I learned how important it is to be on time and be responsible to my friends,” Seely said.

More information can be found at