by Andrew Garda
It’s been a chaotic year for Montclair High School students, with a portion of the school shut down and changes in administrators. However, for senior cheer captain Kendyll Montague, cheerleading at least has been smooth sailing.
“Cheerleading has been going a lot better than it was last year, due to the coaching switch,” she said at halftime during the Montclair football team’s recent game against Livingston. “We have a lot more girls and a lot of new people, and we all come with a different talent, which brings us all together with different personalities to make a really great team this year.”
As a captain, Montague said her job is to bring everyone together and get them on the same page before they step on the field. She wants people to recognize that cheerleaders are athletes, but if they don’t, a captain has to keep everyone focused.
“They aren’t in the gym every day for multiple hours doing what we’re doing. We train like every athlete and we should get respect like every athlete. As a captain, we train our other cheerleaders who are younger and underclassmen to move up with that same attitude,” Montague said.
Montague has been on the varsity cheer squad since she was a freshman, and it’s been a big part of her Mounties life. That makes her last year at the school and with the squad a little bittersweet.
“Now that it’s my senior year, it’s sad to watch the last game here.”
Montague was kind enough to give us a few moments of time for this week’s Athlete Spotlight.
What colleges are you looking at?
I’m looking at Wagner, and LIU along with maybe Rutgers. But I’m not sure yet.
I do want to do college cheer. After college I don’t think I want to go “pro,” but definitely in college I want to continue cheering.
What will you study?
I want to study early childhood education. I used to work at a daycare, so working with little kids and watching how the younger generation which is the next generation, how they’re learning. Teaching them young. I definitely want to impact young kids.
How did you start cheering?
Just coming to games as a little kid and watching my cousins cheer. I did Montclair Cobras cheer for a year, but I got really serious when I came to the MHS team. Freshman year I tried out for the team not knowing anything and I made varsity. And I’ve been on varsity since freshman year.
Do you do any other sports?
I was a dancer. I competed in dance for many years at Unique Performance in West Orange. It was a family thing, my aunts were teachers and they taught me.
Aside from football, what MHS sports do you like to watch?
The soccer teams have been really good. The lacrosse team. So it’s not just football that we go out and support. I don’t [cheer for] basketball season, but I still come and support the cheerleaders and basketball team. All the Montclair teams this year are definitely worth to go watch.