Cheerleading proves a challenging sport
When Regan Smith joined Hillsboro’s cheer squad at the beginning of her senior year, she didn’t realize the level of fitness the sport would require.
“There’s a big learning curve,” she said. “I did volleyball and basketball growing up, but none of my other schools offered cheer. It’s something different you have to train your body to do.”
Building strength was important to catching teammates in her back spotter position, Regan said.
“Everyone thinks of cheerleaders as the dainty girls who don’t want to go out for sports,” she said. “We definitely condition like it’s a sport.”
Smith worked in Tabor College’s dining hall last year and committed to cheer for Tabor in college. She said she looks forward to being competitive.
“I’ve always loved the competition aspect of sports,” she said. “Including that in cheer, something I already love, will be great. Stunting is my favorite aspect of high school cheer, so being able to do that competitively and meet people from other colleges will be great.”
One of the things Smith likes is that there are two coaches she can pull inspiration from.
“It’s been nice having two different aspects of coaches,” she said. “Especially coming into my senior year and being so new to it, having two coaches is really nice.”
Peabody High School’s cheerleading team has been working very hard since June — usually starting their practices at 6 a.m. at least two or three days a week, not counting game days.
The team’s dedication paid off this season with a first-place win at KSHSAA’s Spirit Game Day Showcase in Topeka. This is the first time that Peabody has competed, said coach Denae Flaming.
“For the first year that is pretty amazing,” she said. “Our goal is to go back next year and win it again.”
The girls netted their highest score for their fight song — but had to learn some challenging stunts such as a stair step leading into an extension for the competition as well. Their athleticism and timing impressed the judges.
“They said our movements were nice and sharp,” Flaming said.
Senior Maddy Beal became a flyer, the person who is lifted in the air during a stunt, when another teammate became injured. She said it is important to get the timing right and make sure the two stunt groups are in synch with each other – not very easy to do.
“Honestly I just want people not to think about cheerleading as something that’s not difficult to do,” Beal said.
“People think we yell and wave our hands and stuff. I would really like people to know how hard it is and how time consuming it is to do competition… How much time, and effort and blood, sweat, and tears we put into this.”
Last modified Dec. 18, 2019