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Behind the Poms: Akins High School Varsity Cheer

For the next few weeks, Daranesha Herron takes a look at how high school cheer teams in the area prepare for game day and competition season.

AUSTIN, Texas — For the next few weeks, KVUE's Daranesha Herron is looking behind the poms and highlighting high school cheer teams around the area as they prepare for football and competition seasons.

Austin ISD's Akins Early College High School varsity team kicked it off. Their coach, Janel Aleman, is also the bookkeeper for the school. She said the team practices about two hours a day, four days a week. 

They pull out the mats and convert the cafeteria into a cheer gym. 

"So you get 10 minutes to come here and get changed," said co-captain Alejandra Santos. 

Time is everything on the mat, and Captain Alyssa Casas Ruiz makes sure the team has one sound. 

"I've been cheering for as long as I remember," said Casas Ruiz. "This is like my 11th or 12th season." 

Seniors Casas Ruiz, Santos and co-captain Genevieve Ramirez plan to take the Eagles to new heights as they prepare for not just game day but their first competition season in a couple of years. 

"It's been really good because before, libs were our end goal and, like, this year, we went with libs to camp like we were doing really good and we're still doing really good," said Santos. 

Coach Aleman can tell you, getting game-day ready isn't easy.

"If you want to perform something, I need to see it hit three times before you can actually show it at the football game," said Aleman.

"We fall and then you get back up and you learn from your mistakes," said Ramirez. "The excitement that you get when you hit a stunt and knowing that you couldn't hit it at all, it's, like, exciting. It's like an accomplishment." 

Casas Ruiz plans to cheer in college. 

"I currently received my first offer to go to college at a community college, Dodge City, and I'm the first cheerleader in Akins history to receive a scholarship," said Casas Ruiz. 

These ladies aren't afraid of a challenge off the mat. 

"I'm doing AP government and politics, AP econ and AP literature," said Santos. 

Ramirez is already taking college courses through ACC.

"I'm applying for the University of Cincinnati," said Ramirez. "They have a really good law program over there and I want to be an attorney."

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