MCHS basketball cheerleaders set for strong winter

Theo Tate

The Montgomery County basketball cheerleading squad gets ready to perform during halftime against New Haven on Dec. 22. THEO TATE PHOTO

For more than 10 years, cheerleading has been a specialty for Miranda Craft.

Craft was a cheerleader at Warrenton High School all four years. She also cheered for two years in college, one year at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the other at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Now, Craft is her third season as basketball cheerleading coach at Montgomery County High School.

“I really like it,” Craft said. “My mom also works here, so it’s been really a good experience to have.”

This winter, Craft is heading a basketball cheerleading team that has five returners and five newcomers. Seniors Tabitha Malloy, Valerie Kueny, Sara Scheid, Aisha Bettison and Tiya Morton, juniors Makayla Beaver and Favi Cruz and freshmen Trinity Baskett, Peyton McGough and Mara Iness make up the squad, which performs in both MCHS boys and girls home basketball games. 

“They like to break out and dance regularly,” Craft said. “They never stop talking, but I feel that’s a good thing because I feel like we’re definitely a lot closer than the teams we had in the past. They’re looking forward to doing team bonding things, which is something that we haven’t been able to do, but we would like to do.”

Craft said after two months, she enjoys working with her team.

“They’ve been working really hard,” she said. “We learned all of our cheers in the first two weeks. So we were able to focus on learning new stunts and getting our sideline dances and things like that done. We had a lot more to do while we were at the games so that we’re kind of making sure we have more spirit and more skill.”

Bettison, Morton, Baskett, McGough and Iness are participating in cheerleading in the high school level for the first time.

“It’s been really good to be able to get those girls in and being able to teach them new skills and having our team work well together,” Craft said.

Baskett and Iness were members of the football cheerleading team last fall. Malloy, Kueny and Cruz also were on that squad.

Amanda Graves, a 2003 MCHS graduate, returns for another year as Craft’s assistant coach.

“Amanda has been helping me for the past two years,” Craft said. “She’s been helping us with cheers and doing things with stunts. She’s kind of been that other voice to help with the girls. She makes sure that we’ve got it all together because when I don’t have something, she’s got it and vice versa. We work really well together.”

Craft, who graduated from Warrenton in 2011, had some coaching experience before taking over the MCHS basketball cheerleading program in 2018. She worked as a cheerleader for the Warrenton Little League football program. She also did some coaching while she was in college.

Craft said she was thrilled when she got hired at MCHS three years ago.

“It’s really fun,” she said. “I enjoy coming up with new things. Sometimes the girls are a little overwhelmed with some of the things that I come up with and they try to tell me to calm down. But it’s fun to come up with new ideas and see how the girls are handling them.”



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