Cheerleading is More than Meets the Eye

By Matthew Schwanke, Reporter

 Some argue that it is a sport, and others that it is a type of dance.

Whatever people may label it as, the Susquehannock cheer squad proves one thing for certain: cheerleading is an activity for athletes. 

Much like any traditional school sport, the squad spends many hours in the gymnasium practicing multiple times every week.

This is one reason why the squad has become so proficient at so many moves.

Senior Captain Carly Farmer stands at the top of the stunt. Photograph courtesy of Sean Quintilian.

As their coach, Jessica Beste, put it,”We have maxed out most of the legal stunts that [the squad] can perform in highschool… We have to be more creative.”

This is seemingly  the core reason of them trying a stunt that has not been used by the team in over fifteen years.

 A stunt is one of the athletic feats the cheerleaders perform; flipping or being held in the air is one stunt that they are preparing for, called the “double pyramid.”

According to first year cheerleader sophomore Grace Hartenstein, it is a stunt that takes fifteen people to pull off. It takes four on the left, four in the middle, and four on the right. The four on the left and right will each hold their on-flyer, who does a flip. The people in the middle hold a flyer as well. This flyer however is held up and grabs the arms of the flyers next to her after they are done with their flip.

According to one of the squads most experienced members, senior captain Jenna Schechter, “it’s definitely an advanced stunt that we haven’t attempted before.”

When asked what things help the squad to perform their best, it was clear that it was not any preparation or pre-cheer meal, it came down to their natural chemistry.

Someone who has been on varsity cheer for three years, sophomore Jennifer Wagner agrees.

“It is probably the closest team I’ve been a part of,” said Wagner. ”You have to have a lot of trust when working together.”

When doing dangerous stunts, the team needs to make sure that they can trust each other to do their part. 

Sophomore James Stallings understands that each part of the team is crucial.

Stallings said, ”Everyone has a job to do and has to follow through.” 

Without everyone working in sync, the stunt will not be able to be pulled off. 

Grace Hartenstein is participating in the cheer routine. Photograph courtesy of Sean Quintilian

Beste said that the team is close and fearless, and any girls on the team are willing to try many things that most people would find scary.

One of said cheerleaders understands that it is not scary when you trust the people holding you, and when you trust the person you are holding.

This cheerleader is junior Ava Jones who acknowledges that there are two major things that go into flying.

“There is a lot of pressure-[and] you have to control your body,” said Jones.

The practice time, athleticism and teamwork that these girls have shown are why they are talented at what they do. 

When asked if the cheerleaders would be able to pull the double pyramid off, Jones smiled and replied, “I think we got it.”