Cheer hosts fall tryouts

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Prior to the addition of the team’s new members, JV cheerleaders pose for a quick picture on Sept. 13.

Eris Rindt, Reporter

Adapting to circumstances is something the cheer team knows well. Whether that be a not so optimal result to a sporting event or a stunting situation gone wrong, the team knows how to power through the situation with a smile on their face. Due in part to the pandemic, the team had lower numbers attend tryouts in the spring and thus had a smaller team size going into the 2021-2022 season. In an attempt to heighten their numbers, the coaches and team decided to adapt, and present a never before available opportunity to try out for the squad in the fall.

During the week of Aug. 30, the team hosted a clinic in order for interested students to learn material needed for tryouts later in the week. Current members presented material they used at their own tryouts in the spring and provided encouragement throughout the process. Schools such as Bishop Carroll have their tryouts in the fall according to their team instagram, while other Kansas schools such as Shawnee Mission East hold their tryouts in the winter. 

“Fall tryouts are on a case by case special basis,” head cheer coach Krystyna Botterweck said. “We only plan on having fall tryouts if we have a need for numbers, like this year, whether it be from not having enough come out in the spring or losing cheerleaders over the summer. We do like to give foreign exchange students the opportunity if we are able to though. Last year was our first year having a foreign exchange student on the squad and I love giving that opportunity to them – for the most part, they don’t have the opportunity to cheer back home so this is a new experience for them.”

During a typical cheer practice, cheerleaders work on various stunts, band dances and cheers to later be performed at football games, pep rallies and other Railer events. The JV team cheers at JV home games, where the varsity team cheers at both home and away games. With the addition of fall tryouts this year, the JV squad is able to have a larger group on the field entertaining and boosting the morale of the crowd.

“I think the fall is better [for tryouts] because it gives opportunity for new people,” sophomore Itzanamy Rios said. “[The tryout process] was fun because you were learning cheers, dances, stuff like that [and to conclude the tryout] you had to do them all at once in front of the coaches and judges.” 

A usual school year includes cheer tryouts that would be held in the spring, typically at the end of March or beginning of April. Due to having a small size JV squad going into football season, the coaches decide to host again in the fall in order to gain more numbers. There were nine students that tried out for the squad and six of those students were accepted on the team. The new members were from  a variety of grades and included foreign exchange students. The team plans to host tryouts again in the spring for the 2022-2023 season.

“We did not have the best turnout in the spring for tryouts number wise,” Botterweck said. “Our JV squad was small size and we are losing two cheerleaders to basketball in the winter so we still had a good sized JV squad [but encouraged the addition of new members]. I am excited to get them caught up and watch them grow as a part of the team and as an individual cheerleader. Watching any of my cheerleaders learn, grow and hit the goals they set for themselves is one of the best parts of coaching. I have a feeling our new girls will fit in with our team dynamic and bring even more to our little family.”

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