STURGEON — The echoing voices and clapping of Sturgeon Middle School students fill the gymnasium as they chant cheers while practicing for upcoming cheerleading auditions.
"B-A-S-K-E-T, Bulldogs, basket. B-A-S-K-E-T, Bulldogs, basket."
Patty Brill, secretary of the middle school, is coaching the 13 girls and one boy hoping to make the squad.
"Make sure you are in between one another," Brill said while instructing the seventh and eighth graders.
"B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S, B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S, B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S."
Brill, of Clark, took over this year as the school's cheerleading coach. Although it is her first year at Sturgeon, Brill taught first- and second-grade girls for two years while living in New Jersey.
Of those auditioning at a school of 155 students, Brill said only three have cheered before, so she started cheer practice by teaching them the basics.
"The first thing we showed them was basic motions and how to stretch properly," Brill said.
Voice projections, smiles and how to stand will also be some deciding factors when choosing people for the squad.
"We're going to hold tryouts, so they have only learned a couple of cheers," she said.
"G-O, let's go. G-O, let's go, Bulldogs. G-O, let's go."