MSHS cheer is down 10 members from last year

Manitou+Springs+High+School+cheerleaders%2C+get+the+crowd+involved+in+cheering+on+the+football+team+at+Richardson+Field%2C+Friday%2C+October+15%2C+2021.++Many+former+cheerleaders+watched+from+the+stands+this+year.

Manitou Springs High School cheerleaders, get the crowd involved in cheering on the football team at Richardson Field, Friday, October 15, 2021. Many former cheerleaders watched from the stands this year.

Piper Larsen, Reporter

A total of 10 cheerleaders quit the Manitou Springs High School cheer team during both the 2020 and 2021 cheer seasons. Towards the end of the 2020 cheer season, two girls quit. Then a couple weeks after tryouts, during the 2021 season six more quit the team. Just a few weeks ago before competition practice, another two girls quit.

Cheer is a full-time commitment, and many students who join the team end up quitting or not participating in the sport the following year. This year, MSHS experienced a huge turn-over of athletes on the cheer team. Students and staff have been wondering what happened to all the cheerleaders? 

There are a variety of benefits that come with cheer. When joining the team, cheerleaders have a set group of immediate friends which is comforting when starting high school. “I would say that cheer was beneficial in the sense that I made friends. I had many people that I knew just from being in cheer together,” said former cheerleader Samara Coakley (12).

However, cheer isn’t just about the social life. MSHS cheerleaders wake up at 5:00 a.m. to be at the school by 6:00 a.m. for practice, but these girls also must stay engaged in school for seven hours. Then in order to be back at the school early enough to practice stunts, the cheerleaders show up one hour before a game even starts. The cheerleaders also attend a one hour tumbling practice once a week. Keeping in mind that games tend to be two hours long, these girls are on average doing cheer for three to five hours per day.

“It was really difficult because you had to wake up super early, and I think just because of how exhausted I was, my grades started slipping,”one former cheerleader said.

On the other hand, according to multi-sport athlete and current cheer captain Bella Coscetti (12), cheer isn’t that hard to tackle if you know how to balance out your activities. “It is time consuming but it’s about how you manage your time,” she said. She said that cheerleaders should understand that this is the way it is going to be when they commit to the year-round sport.

Tackling different activities at the same time is a difficult skill to master. Many cheerleaders talked about how they have piles of homework every night but run out of time to finish the homework because they need to go to bed early in order to be well rested for practice in the morning.

Some other cheerleaders on the team talked about cheer being fun but extremely overwhelming and exhausting. Current cheerleader Cadence Magruder (10) said, “I guess I like being a part of the team; but at the same time, I feel like I kind of have to put the team above my own mental health.”

However, the 10 cheerleaders who quit didn’t see the commitment worth it. “I enjoyed being on the team with the other girls, which is why my decision for quitting was so difficult to make,” Annie Riggin (11) said.  “Everyone was like a big happy family, but cheer in general wasn’t bringing me the same joy that it used to.”