Cheerleaders at Gustavus use their gymnastic and dance expertise to pump up the Gustiefans. Found on the sidelines of football and basketball games, the women remain positive and strive for improvement, despite long practices and physical exhaustion. Coached by Senior Cassie Mizinski, the women work hard to make cheer look effortless.
Cheerleading is a club sport at Gustavus. Try-outs are held every spring and fall for anyone who wants to be a cheerleader, no prior experience is required.
“I had never done cheerleading before, but when I came to Gustavus I was worried about gaining the freshman fifteen, and I thought that cheerleading would be a great way to keep myself motivated and to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Junior Kate Belschner said.
While some of the women come to Gustavus without having cheered before, most have some type of dance or gymnastic training. The cheerleaders look for people who have positive attitudes and the potential to be a motivator on the field or court. Fall try-outs gained the team several first-year cheerleaders, and nearly doubled the team in size.
“We want to work with the different amount of people we have this year and try some new stunts. It’s awesome to see so many different hidden talents,” Belschner said.
Every cheerleader gets to attempt a different position during practice and at games. Each girl tries a base, a back, or a flier role at least once.
“Everyone can see how difficult each role is, so no one gets taken for granted. When everyone tries everything, it changes how you see your teammates and builds a lot of trust,” Sophomore Abby Simms said.
Building trust between teammates plays a major role in being a successful cheerleading squad. It is essential to learning new stunts which take a lot of time and repetition to perfect.
“You get dropped a lot, and it takes a lot of work to get to where we need and want to be.
A lot of failure has to come before success,” First-year Anna St. Dennis said.
But the atmosphere between the cheerleaders makes every failure worth it.
“We want to work with the different amount of people we have this year and try some new stunts. It’s awesome to see so many different hidden —Kate Belschner
“The team is just so goofy, and there is such a great variety in the personalities of all the girls. It makes practice so much fun. We stay serious for safety reasons, of course, but we have formed such great friendships because of cheering together,” Simms said.
The cheerleaders put in long hours to perfect their stunts and cheers for every football and basketball game. According to Belschner, even though it’s tiring, the experience is more than rewarding.
“Being able to see everyone progress over the season is so amazing. I’m so glad I was lucky enough to be a cheerleader, because I couldn’t have asked for better teammates and friends,” Belschner said.
The cheerleaders will be selling Urban Halo headbands outside the Caf on Dec. 8-12.
They are hoping to raise enough money to purchase new uniforms for next year’s cheerleaders.
“We know that some girls are discouraged from trying out because of the uniforms we currently have, so we’re trying to change that and make everyone more comfortable. We want cheerleading to be as accepting as possible to everyone,” St. Dennis said.
The new uniforms will be more modest and cover the entire torso and midsection.
“The headbands make great Christmas gifts, so stop by, get a present for your best friend, and help support the cheerleaders,” Simms said.