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Cheerleaders, mascots take the stage for annual HYSL event

Higley’s youngest cheerleaders took to the stage in early March to show off their teamwork and collaboration as part of the annual Higley Youth Sports League (HYSL) cheerleading celebration.

The program brings together students in kindergarten through sixth grade for two quarters each year to learn new skills and support their schools’ HYSL basketball teams, as well as perform at school events. Students practice on campus after school.

Fifth-grader Addie Prinkey, a student at Coronado Elementary School, began cheering with the Coyotes three years ago.

“I think my best part about cheerleading is making new friends and being able to have fun with my whole group and being able to make up the cheer routines with my coaches,” she said before the event at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts on March 4. “I like that we get to work as a team and rely on each other for everything.”

This year’s event included a “mascot dance-off” with student mascots from nine elementary, middle and high schools in Higley. The students were led by a surprise guest: Baxter the Bobcat from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The students’ identities are often a secret to their classmates. The San Tan Scorpion loves being a part of the school’s cheer group.

“It supports our school and I’m also on student council and like supporting my school anyway I can. It’s really fun and I like pumping up the crowd,” she said

The Williams Field Black Hawk, Higley Knight, Cooley Cougar, and Sossaman Spartan also made an appearance

Chaparral’s Sammy the Shark won the dance-off with a vote of the crowd.

“I like being there and supporting my school and doing stuff to make the school happy,” he said.

Coronado coach Kiley Kemmerling enjoys the interactions with students.

“I like being able to talk to the girls outside of school and get to know the older girls since I teach primary,” the first-grade teacher said. “I like that we get to show what we’ve worked on all year long and show the other schools and parents what we can do.”

Higley Youth Sports League is one of many programs run by the Higley Unified School District's Community Education Department.

Congratulations to all the students and their teams:

Mini teams
First place: Coronado Elementary School’s Team Teal
Second place: San Tan Elementary School
Third place: Coronado’s Team Purple

First place: Adaleigh Marsh
Second place: Addilyn Prinkey
Third place: Amanda Davis

Overall teams
First place: Coronado Elementary School
Second place: San Tan Elementary School
Third place: Gateway Pointe Elementary School