Cheerleading: an equal opportunity sport

Yell leader Austin Smith, right, fires up the crowd with fellow cheerleader Lauryn Scott, left.

Submitted by Ally Davis, WHS Student Correspondent

Austin Smith is a back spotter for Madison Boeckman’s stunt.

Although many people think cheerleading is a feminine sport, Austin Smith, a sophomore from Wetmore High School, begs to differ. Smith is the first yell leader on Wetmore’s cheer squad in school history.

Smith began thinking about trying out for cheer early on his freshman year. With a few pushes from friends who were on the squad and a flip of a coin, he decided to try out for his sophomore year.

When Smith recalls getting the text that he made the squad, he said, “I was super excited! I jumped up and down! I was relieved and it [being selected for the squad] made me feel super confident.”

“Stunting, as a whole, is my favorite part of cheer,” Smith said, “but figuring out days that we are all free to practice is the hardest.” Sophia Samano, a senior cheerleader said, “It’s great to have another back spot so we can have another stunt group!”

Since the cheer squad doesn’t have designated practice times after school, they sometimes have to get creative. Between work schedules, other sports, and assorted extracurricular activities, there aren’t many days that work for all the members of the squad.

“I am excited to work with Austin and to change tradition. The main difference between cheer and yell leaders is changing mind set and appropriate actions for a male versus female. I love to change tradition and encourage others to try new things,” said Coach Anissa Bloom, when asked about her thoughts on having a boy on the cheer squad.

When people ask Smith if he has ever received any negative feedback, he said, “Never. Everyone knows that if they say rude things to me, my girls [the cheerleaders] will have my back.”

Wetmore has accepted and encouraged Smith’s growth as a yell leader and, as junior Shayla Ball said, “It was shocking [to find out that Austin had made the squad], but it was exciting as well because Wetmore can stand out more as a school.”

When Smith and Bloom were asked if they thought more boys should try out for cheer, they both agreed that they should.

“Although cheer is a big responsibility and isn’t for everyone, I would highly recommend cheer to anyone!” Smith said.

The future Smith has in mind, at least for the remainder of his high school years, includes being on the cheer squad. College, however, is a different story.

“If I get offered a scholarship, I’d do it in a heartbeat. If not, then I’ll flip a coin again,” he said.

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