Cheerleaders bring pep with squad of six

Students believe there is a lot to cheer about at Shorewood this year: strong sports teams, a new stadium and the football team’s first home game win. However, there are not many people to cheer about it.

The cheerleading team is down to only six girls.

(Sydney Widell) Students rehearse a routine led by Sami Palmisano, senior and team captain. The team’s small size has compelled them to work harder and with more unity.
(Sydney Widell) Students rehearse a routine led by Sami Palmisano, senior and team captain. The team’s small size has compelled them to work harder and with more unity.

In their short history as a squad, the team has never seen such low numbers. Nevertheless, the girls and Lonrae Davis, coach, are staying positive.

“This team is definitely smaller,” Davis said. “We have six girls right now, however these girls work very, very, very well together. We don’t have any drama whatsoever this year, which is always a plus. I am very happy with the group of girls that we have this year. It’s a little smaller than years past, but that’s okay with us.”

Hana Schofield, senior, said that there are pros and cons to having a small team.

“There are good things and bad things about [only having six girls],” Schofield said. “The good thing … is that it’s not too big that we’re disconnected from each other. Being a small group, it’s easier for everyone to get together and hang out … But sometimes we wish there were more people so we could do stunts. At the game last week, there were about 20 girls on the other team and only six of us. But it was still fun.”

Sami Palmisano, senior, agrees. She said that compared to her experience freshman year, the cheerleaders have a closer bond.

“I think the team bonding has changed [this year]. I remember my freshman year, there were more people, [but] with more separate groups and drama,” Palmisano said. “[This year,] we all like each other, and there’s no negativity.”

Although most small cheerleading squads are unable to do stunts, this year’s team is eager to solve this puzzle.

“We’re trying to get stunting [into our cheers], but that’s also hard with six people,” Palmisano said.

Davis said that stunting can take the team to a competitive level, which is a long-term goal for the program.

“I’d like to see the girls stunt because … at competitions we [see] stunts, we [see] dancing and we [see] competitive cheer,” she said.

To learn how to stunt, Davis had professionals come to teach the girls on September 26 for the second time this season.

“We just have to take it day by day, especially with the new girls. We want people to be prepared, we don’t want them to be nervous [and] we don’t want them to fall and hurt themselves. We want everyone to be up on safety, so that’s why we hire people to come who really know what they’re doing,” Davis said.

Davis said that she would like to take the team to competitions, but she would rather wait until everyone feels they are ready.

“There are some small competitions that we can enter, but we want to be prepared. Right now we’re just in the learning stage. We will take it step by step and will [go] to the easier competitions and work our way up. Most of the girls who compete in these competitions have cheered, stunted and danced their entire lives … We have two girls who had danced and cheered before when they were younger, so that gives us a leg up, but then we also have girls who haven’t … We don’t want to compete with the girls who have been dancing and cheering all of their lives because there will be no competition at this point,” Davis said.

Currently, the cheerleaders are cheering for the football season and are planning for the basketball season.

According to Davis and Palmisano, the team is trying to recruit more people.

“We would love to have boys on the team,” Davis said.

“[Cheerleading is] a sport that you really have to work hard at, especially those who are dedicated … It’s not just something you can join. For basketball season, we are looking for individuals who are hard workers and who are dedicated, and we are looking for boys to join our squad. Once we get to that competitive stage, it will be a lot of hard work and strength from boys will be a big help,” Davis said.

Anyone who is interested in joining the squad can get information from the athletic office.

by Maeve McKaig

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