Cheerleaders at Pierson High School are not just doing the old “ra, ra, sis boom ba,” cheer, that has been done so many times in years past. Cheerleading has taken on a different course this year and the girls and their coach are hoping to enhance the program even more for next year.
Generally, cheerleaders remain on the sidelines, encouraging the team they root for to play well or reminding the athletes to play defensively or offensively.
The girls chant, howl, clap, stomp, flip and dance to show support for their team; at Pierson, that means Whaler basketball.
Pierson High School has almost always had a cheerleading squad for their varsity boy’s basketball team. Back in the 1960’s, girls would perform on the court doing cartwheels while male cheerleaders did back flips and were used as the base of the human pyramid. The male cheerleaders wore heavy white sweaters donning an embroidered “P” and long pants while the girls wore short skirts.
During the 60’s a pep squad was created, although they didn’t actually go on the floor and perform, the pep squad pushed the crowd to get excited for the cheerleader’s performances.
Now, nearly 50 years later, the cheerleaders have combined the pep squad efforts with the routine “cheering” but incorporated dance to make it a fun and exciting experience for fans. However, this season, the squad was doing its very best to change their performances from one game to the next, according to the coach.
This year’s squad has thirteen girls in all under captain Amelia Skyres and Co-captain Brianna Hand.
Coach Robin Florence, said the beginning of the season was difficult because the squad had so many new members. Of those that returned this season, there were four seniors and one junior.
As part of their routine, the girls did lifts – where the stronger cheerleaders lift the lighter ones. The girl’s also do drop cradles – when a smaller girl is thrown up and the stronger girls catch her below. Both of which, were incorporated into their half time show, which was set to music, this season.
“They did really good,” the coach said this week as the season came to a close, “They practiced five days a week and the older girls worked hard with the younger ones.”
For cheerleaders, the half time show is the most anticipated event of the boy’s basketball game. For this year’s half time show, the girls chose a few different songs and created a remixed version of them. Of the songs they chose, Brittany Spears’ “Oops I Did it Again,” played a small part, among a few other “pop” songs.
“Sometimes we added a basketball toss at the end,” Florence said, “just to mix things up.”
This season, the coach said that the cheerleaders also made signs for all of the players and brought them to every home game, as a creative way to show support for their team.
The cheerleaders have high expectations for next season and are going to try to attend a camp this summer or fall, to improve their skills.