Story by Tamas Mondovics

Ready for the 2017-2018 competitive season, the East Bay High School small coed cheerleading squad is ready to show the county its skills.

Not only that, the 24-member squad (20 girls and four boys) led by head coach Tracy Howard, are training for regular competitions, and are now prepared to take their talent to the next level by seeking to qualify for this season’s nationals in Orlando.

“We have high hopes to turn in a great season,” Howard said. “I am extremely confident and we are aiming to win the state title.”

Howard, a 1992 East Bay alumni who has been coaching cheer for the past 12 years, the last five at the high school level, is boasting of a solid roster including its 10 returning seniors.

Proud of its recent success, including last year’s fifth place state appearance, the Indians have been building the program one stunt at a time, not to mention, the addition of the four boys to create the small coed status.

“Bringing the boys on brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the program guided by our school motto; We Are Family,” Howard said.

Competitive cheerleading will begin in October with four local competitions, followed by the annual Western Conference, Regionals and State contests in Gainesville.

Of course, Howard’s confidence in a winning season is not without her squad’s commitment, dedication and hard work, which starts at cheering on the fans during Friday night games and ends in early spring.

“There is plenty to do and we are currently working on improving team wide tumbling,” she said, adding that as far as the boys are concerned the focus is on tweaking the coed stunt techniques.

The squad was on hand to cheer on the Indians’ varsity football team led by Coach Frank LaRosa, who defeated Riverview to start the season on a high note.

For information about local schools athletics, visit For more information about the East Bay High School is located at 7710 Old Big Bend Rd. in Gibsonton. Visit

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