Male cheerleaders impact competition season


Taylor Kuelthau, In-depth Editor

Football season has come to an end and competition season for the cheer team has begun.  IHSA allows each team to compete in six competitions, and with the first competition Dec. 4, the cheerleaders have already begun preparing. . Even though the team is co-ed this year, they have been placed in the Large All Girl Division.

At each competition, there are four main divisions: small, medium, large, or co-ed.  To be accepted into the co-ed division, there has to be multiple male cheerleaders on a team.  Since the Cheer Team only has one, they have no choice but to compete in the all-girls section.

“All divisions in cheer are difficult, but there tends to be the most number of teams in the large division, so it makes the competition a bit tougher because only 25 teams in each division advance to State,” Varsity coach Allyson Passarelli said.

Aside from last year, the cheer team has always been co-ed.  Being in the All-Girl Division is still a new experience.

“Last year was the first time we were in the All-Girl Division because we’ve been co-ed for so long.  It was a brand new thing for us because we didn’t know any of the teams that we were competing against,” Varsity cheerleader, senior Chloe Edmonson said.

To try and recruit more male cheerleaders, the girls that were on the team during football season held a clinic in the fieldhouse.  Members of the football team and friends of the current cheerleaders were brought in to practice stunts and routines.

“After a regular day of practice for us, we had the guys come in to teach them how to stunt, do jumps, and tumble if they wanted to,” Varsity cheerleader Franki Lagiglio said.

The only boy on the team this winter, junior Josh Ronquillo, will be making his debut this season.  Though Ronquillo was nervous to try out at first, he’s already enjoying the cheer environment.

I hesitated on whether I wanted to show up, but I did. When I got there, everyone welcomed me and had me stunt, knowing I had no experience,” Ronquillo said.  “I’m mostly excited to hear the crowd roaring after finishing our routine.

Having male cheerleaders during competition season not only increases the chances of advancing to State, but it allows the team to enhance their routines and stand out during their performances.

“Having boys on the team for the season is crucial for stunts.  Since they’re naturally stronger, they make the stunts cleaner and have better execution,” Varsity cheerleader, senior Olivia Valente said.