Cheerleaders set for State

Senior Katie Fernholz and the competition cheerleaders showed off their state tournament ready routines at the Tiger Invite on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Seniors Brook Dietz, Sabrina Frazier and sophomore Noelani Mattson are examples of how difficult and time-consuming the sport of cheerleading actually is. All three are a part of a team of 30 girls from all over the state of Iowa chosen for an All State team that performs at the Iowa state basketball tournament in March. 

In addition to making All State, they are all apart of the CFHS competition team. This Saturday, Nov. 3, they will be competing at State in Des Moines at the state fairgrounds. 

“Our competition cheerleading state is just like any other sports state, but we only have one chance to perform it,” Dietz said.

For the past few years, they have made it to top six, but they have not placed since Frazier’s first year of competition. “When I was a freshman, we placed 3rd. Ever since then, we haven’t placed in the top three, but this year we are about to win.”

The All Staters said the constant lack of support of their sport from the student body doesn’t get these cheerleaders down. “In previous years it was hard for us to work so hard for something and to not be supported by the student body, but recently teachers have been showing us more support, and it makes us want to work even harder,” two time All Stater Frazier said.

Mattson said, “There are two types of cheer: competitive and sideline. When most people think of cheer, they think of sideline, which are the cheerleaders you see at football games. Competitive is different as you compete against other teams and have a routine with tumbling and stunts in it,” she said, “I think if people understood the different types they would have a different perspective on it.”

The competition cheerleaders channel much of their time and energy into cheer. On Mondays and Wednesday they have early morning practices from 6-8 a.m. and 6-7 a.m. respectively. Sideline cheerleaders have practice on Mondays and Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Since they are also involved in competition cheer, they have practices on Wednesday after school from 4-6 p.m. with an additional tumbling practice on Monday nights from 7:30 to 8:30.

“The practices are very hard because we are constantly running through our routine, and it’s very hot in the gym. They are also hard because our coaches only allow us to get drinks every 45 minutes. We have this thing called DDT, which stands for designated drinking time,” Mattson said.

Even throughout that grueling schedule, these girls still found time to prepare for All State. “I practiced the dance from the video they sent out every night to make sure I remembered it on the day of the try-outs,” Mattson said. 

“It’s almost like they’re testing to see how prepared we are going to be for a performance,” Dietz said. 

Frazier said, “They teach you the cheer there, so they are also testing how quickly you can learn cheers and such.”

Once cheerleaders get to the audition, they are put into groups from different schools to audition with. “As they are recording you, you do a dance, a cheer, some jumps, and if you can do tumbling, they ask you to do that as well,” Frazier said.  

Each girl viewed getting into All State as a different accomplishment. For Frazier, she said the best thing was getting to go and enjoy the time spent with her friends while doing something she loves. 

Dietz took a more nostalgic look at the process. She said, “It’s our last time doing it. Next year we’re going to be gone and not with each other, so it’s fun to do it one last time and be with each other.”

But for Mattson, it was about the honor of getting chosen. “They usually take juniors or seniors over sophomores or freshman because the younger grades have more years to try out,” she said. While most might see this as an obstacle, Mattson said she saw this as an opportunity to grow as an athlete.

Cheerleading is very much a contact sport and is often times very dangerous. Many times cheerleaders are in and out of the hospital. Dietz experienced an injury a few weeks ago that ended in a collapsed lung and a bruised sternum.

“On the way to the hospital, my brother Reese said, ‘I didn’t realize cheer was a contact sport.’ My mom just looked at him with disgust and said, ‘Yeah, she’s probably been in the ER three times since she’s started cheer,’” Dietz said.

Mattson described her team as a family to her. She said, “The best thing about cheerleading is definitely the friendships you make along the way and the close bonds you make with your team. My team is like my second family.”

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