Go Tigers! Cheerleading team increases in numbers this year due to funding and publicity

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Go Tigers! Cheerleading team increases in numbers this year due to funding and publicity

The South Cheer squad has had a few new changes this year. Not only do they have a new coach Gabby Stickney but they have also had an increase in cheerleaders on their team due to better publicity and funding. “[The cheerleading squad is more popular this year] because we were able to promote [the team] more. I mean having cheerleading in the winter helped to have people see that we wanted to continue cheerleading and now people have been seeing them at soccer and football games so we have more people inquiring about the winter tryouts. I think once people see it they know it’s there,” said Stickney.

The South Cheer squad has had a few new changes this year. Not only do they have a new coach Gabby Stickney but they have also had an increase in cheerleaders on their team due to better publicity and funding. “[The cheerleading squad is more popular this year] because we were able to promote [the team] more. I mean having cheerleading in the winter helped to have people see that we wanted to continue cheerleading and now people have been seeing them at soccer and football games so we have more people inquiring about the winter tryouts. I think once people see it they know it’s there,” said Stickney.

Gabby Stickney

The South Cheer squad has had a few new changes this year. Not only do they have a new coach Gabby Stickney but they have also had an increase in cheerleaders on their team due to better publicity and funding. “[The cheerleading squad is more popular this year] because we were able to promote [the team] more. I mean having cheerleading in the winter helped to have people see that we wanted to continue cheerleading and now people have been seeing them at soccer and football games so we have more people inquiring about the winter tryouts. I think once people see it they know it’s there,” said Stickney.

Gabby Stickney

Gabby Stickney

The South Cheer squad has had a few new changes this year. Not only do they have a new coach Gabby Stickney but they have also had an increase in cheerleaders on their team due to better publicity and funding. “[The cheerleading squad is more popular this year] because we were able to promote [the team] more. I mean having cheerleading in the winter helped to have people see that we wanted to continue cheerleading and now people have been seeing them at soccer and football games so we have more people inquiring about the winter tryouts. I think once people see it they know it’s there,” said Stickney.

Maya Edmonds, Staff Writer

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The South cheerleading team has had an increase in numbers this year due to more funding and publicity. Last year, the team didn’t have a coach because funding for the squad was very slim, however, after getting more funding this year, they can afford a new coach. The new coach, Gabby Stickney, has been a major help to get the team back on its feet.

“I actually graduated from South and I have been the gymnastics coach here for the last 12 years. Me and one of my friends, Tammy Williams, brought cheerleading back because we were getting paid by the athletic directors. [But now that cheerleading is] no longer under athletics for the Minnesota State High Schools League, we are not considered a sport so they don’t give funding for it anymore,” said Stickney.

Cheerleading is generally well known across American high schools. It is referenced frequently in movies and media so much that the idea of a cheerleader is often subconsciously imprinted into Americans minds. At South, cheer hasn’t been quite as popular as in the movies. In past years it has had only up to 6 cheerleaders and not much interest was shown to the team at games. This year, with more people joining the Cheer team than in past years, they provide a louder voice for the South Tigers.

“We have games with a bigger crowd and [in the past] it was really hard for people to hear us, so the new cheerleaders really help provide new voices and help us get louder, also we are just more of a family now,” said Emily Merryman, a senior and cheerleader at South.

The athletic department doesn’t pay for cheerleading, as it is not seen as a sport, which is why the cheerleading team didn’t have a coach last year. Last year, the cheerleading team fought together for a grant from the foundation to help fund their squad.

“Eventually we got a grant from the foundation for 900 dollars and that’s what helped get us going. At the time we were fighting for [the grant] we only had 6 people that made the team and were interested, [but after we got the grant] we had more people. Then there were 8th graders from Sanford coming over and doing the tryouts and clinics with us and now this year we have more people that are interested,” explained Stickney.

Thanks to the grant, the cheerleading squad has the right resources to promote their team and help recruit new cheerleaders. They practice two days a week for two and a half hours and work hard to come up with cheers to improve morale and team spirit.

“[The cheerleading squad is more popular this year] because we were able to promote [the team] more. I mean having cheerleading in the winter helped to have people see that we wanted to continue cheerleading and now people have been seeing them at soccer and football games so we have more people inquiring about the winter tryouts. I think once people see it they know it’s there,” said Stickney.

Many freshmen joined the cheerleading team this year and have added a lot to improve the squad not only in numbers but also in spirit.

“When I was little, I went to a Roosevelt game and saw the cheerleaders and I guess I figured that once I get into highschool I’d start cheerleading. I like cheering at the games… I feel like sometimes it motivates our football team and I think it’s just a good experience,” said Lily Lacombe, a freshman cheerleader.

“I think a lot of the freshman [joined cheer because they] want to learn something new and cheer has been really promoted. Also a lot of well known freshmen do cheer so they can get their friends to join. Also cheer is more popular this year is because we worked so hard to get the team back from when the old coach quit and I feel like a lot of new cheerleaders see that as a serious thing [so the team is not] just a joke anymore” said Merryman.

“I think [cheerleading] really gets the crowd hyped and they start feeling like ‘we can win!’, ‘we are a powerful football team!’, and that really helps the football players as well because they’re like ‘there are more people supporting us who don’t think we are just going to lose’. It also helps the cheerleaders because they get to work in an environment that’s highly functional [based] on how others act, and they get the leadership skills they need. I feel like it made me feel more confident in my voice and in saying things,” said Merryman.

Stickney has high hopes for the cheerleaders despite the lack of support or enthusiasm their program has experienced in the past. “I’m hoping [the cheerleaders] become leaders, I’m hoping they show the other students that we want spirit here at the school and we want to show our pride. I’ve also seen some pushback where some people have made fun of the cheerleaders,” said Stickney. 

Stickney also seeks to bring more diversity in gender onto the team in coming years, and to understand that it’s a welcoming environment for everyone. “One of the big things that I want to do is to bring any gender and all combined into cheer, I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable to be apart of the cheerleading squad,” she explained.

 

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