By Marlee Ginter

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Trying out for high school sports has never been more trying than right now.

For the most part, sports have been sidelined as the pandemic rages on, but in-person cheerleading tryouts recently kicked off in Elk Grove.

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Franklin High School head cheerleading coach Kathy Harris knew cheer tryouts would be a challenge during a virtual school year.

“We started thinking, what are we going to do? Because this isn’t going to work,” said Harris. “Some girls were perfect. They’re on, perfect and some look behind and like they don’t know what they’re doing, but I know they know what they’re doing. It’s just that they’re following the music that’s coming from my computer which is lagging for them.”

Online glitches and slow internet service made learning the routine difficult.

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“I would still say it’s pretty worth it for me.  At least having it for my final year, at least through Zoom, it’s something. It’s better than nothing,” Franklin High senior Karena Payden said.

Considering the challenges, district leaders are now allowing cheerleading tryouts to be in-person. But now that they’ve got the moves and the chants, they still don’t have the team to cheer for.

“If we have football season we’re ready to go. If we don’t have football season plan b, plan c, or whatever it ends up being, who knows,” said Harris.

It’s a risk they’re willing to take for the sake of some normalcy in a school year that’s been anything but normal.

“I’m like really excited. It brought back a light in my life because it’s been very sad. It’s my senior year so to not have the normal cheer experience. Everyone is doing their best over Zoom and it’s really nice to see,” said Payden.

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With or without high school sports this school year, the cheerleaders are planning virtual performances to maintain school spirit during a difficult school year.