Let’s hear it for Hawk spirit; Winter cheer team encourages from sidelines


Samantha Johnson

The team poses with their pom-poms after cheering in the gymnasium. The boys basketball team lost this game.

Emily Johnson, IDR Editor

 What’s that spell? Hawks! The winter cheerleading team has been practicing and has currently cheered at eight boys basketball home games. They will make their next appearance against Rising Sun High School on Feb. 3.

       The team is coached by NHES teacher Mrs. Tracy Sanger-Levy and consists of 14 girls, many of which are freshmen and sophomores. While they don’t perform at any competitions or football games like the fall team, they memorize tons of cheers and dance moves to show off on the sidelines of the gymnasium, during boys’ basketball games.  

     Freshman Samantha Johnson tried out for the team for the first time in November and has “thoroughly enjoyed” the season so far. According to Johnson, the girls have practice “twice a week, and [they] rehearse several different cheers” at each practice. Her favorite cheer is called “rebound” which includes spelling out the word, stomping, and clapping. She mentioned that “an important part of cheer is being enthusiastic, even when things aren’t going our team’s way.” Johnson also believes the team-favorite cheer is called “Rowdy” because it gets the crowd excited and loud.

    Freshman Heather Wolf is one of the team captains, along with freshman Serenity Ungham and sophomores Ariel Stinebaugh and Bianca Baker. Wolf was part of the fall cheer team, but this was her first season in the sport. Her favorite cheer they’ve learned is called “Limit,” which is shorter than other cheers like rebound. Wolf mentioned that she believes cheerleaders shouldn’t be stereotyped like they often are in society.

    According to usacheer.org, cheerleading has “experienced a major reduction in injuries since 2010.” The number of catastrophic injuries in cheer is lower than in sports like soccer but is equivalent to other sports like gymnastics.

   There are numerous benefits to cheer, according to www.sportsrec.com. These benefits include developing stronger muscles, a better mentality, and “cardio supremacy.” These benefits can improve day-to-day life as well. “It was also found that 92% of high school athletes avoid drugs.”