Cheering for the Cheerleaders

Many people do not understand the work that goes behind putting a cheer team together. The West High cheerleaders and coaches discuss the physical and mental difficulties of cheerleading as well as the benefits.

Helelia Wa Kalala, Social Media Editor

Cheer can often be an overlooked sport, many do not know or understand the work that goes into a performance or stunt. From long hours at practice everyday after school to cheering for multiple games a week, the West High cheer team puts in a lot of work to both entertain students and support West High athletes. However, they are not always recognized with scholarships and awards as other athletes. 

“Cheer does not necessarily get scholarships,” said head coach Morgan Dibert, “some schools will but, wrestling, football and swimming, they are all working to get that scholarship; our team is working to put on a good performance and just hope that they get noticed at some point. The fact that they are here, the fact that they are able to give us their time and listen to the feedback that we give them, it’s just wonderful.” 

With this comes a lot of balancing that the athletes must do, they have other extracurriculars, jobs and some may even have other sports they play. They’re oftentimes the ones cheering without receiving any encouragement back from the crowd or colleges.  

Cheer comes with many challenges and fewer rewards than most sports, but this did not stop  coach Dibert and assistant coach Sophia O’brien as they were able to increase the number of students at tryouts from 20 students last year (2021-2022) to over 50 students this year. Majority of the students trying out had never cheered before, a challenge that they were able to overcome  with practice and feedback from the coaches. 

“I am really proud of the progress that these girls make, and sometimes it happens overnight. As a coach, I think it’s a different feeling because when you give them the feedback or you give them the critique and they’re able to apply it, I think you know that you’re doing something right because you’re like, what I am saying is making sense and they’re understanding it enough to apply it and realize why they are having to apply it,” said O’Brien.

 As the cheerleaders learn from their coaches, they are able to learn new stunts and skills from their coaches and teammates, helping them build strong relationships that go beyond cheer.

“My favorite part of cheer is having a close connection with my teammates and I love learning new stunts and skills,” said Rylee DeSaulniers ’25. “Cheer has made me become a better person because I get to see a lot of different people and people that I would never have talked to outside of cheer.”

As a result of their efforts and dedication to the sport, the West High cheer team has shown immense improvement this year. The team was able to compete this year placing sixth in the state competition which is a big step from last year as they came in last place.