The first full week in March is National Cheerleading Week. In an effort to honor and recognize all the hard work, practice, and effort put in by these athletes, in a sport that can often be overlooked, the Daily Guide will be honoring our local cheerleading squads all week.

Meet the cheerleaders of Waynesville High School.

1. How often does your squad practice? How many hours are spent practicing?

 We practice at least 4 days a week for two hours nightly. 

2. How long does it take to learn a routine or cheer?

Depending on the difficulty of a routine, it can take us anywhere from one to four or five practices.  When stunts are involved, it typically takes longer.  Another factor is who is involved in the routine.  If we have all squads involved in learning a large routine together it typically takes longer to perfect it. 

3. Describe your squad. What are they like?

We have three squads during the fall season and three squads during the winter season.  Our Freshman Squad stays together for the fall and winter seasons, cheering for all Freshman Football games (both home and away) and all home Freshman Girls Basketball and Freshman Boys Basketball games.  Our Fall JV Squad cheers for all JV Football games, both home and away.  The Fall Varsity Squad cheers for all Varsity Football games, both home and away.  In the winter, the Winter JV Squad cheers for all home JV Wrestling, JV Boys Basketball, and JV Girls Basketball.  The Winter Varsity Squad cheers for all home Varsity Wrestling, Varsity Boys Basketball, and Varsity Girls Basketball.  The Winter Varsity Squad also travels to Rolla, Camdenton, and Lebanon for all three Varsity teams, as well as Conference, District, and State for all three Varsity teams. 

At this time we have 55 total cheerleaders this winter season.  Our cheerleaders are a diverse group of talented and intelligent student athletes.   

4. What is something that people should know about your squad that they probably don't?

Being in a military community, we host two tryouts per year.  We have a large tryout in the spring for all current students, enabling us to have summer practices and to attend camps during the summer.  In the fall, we have another tryout to include new students who have enrolled in our school district.  The fall tryout is typically smaller than our large spring tryout.  As coaches, we are consistently impressed by our cheerleaders and their ability to embrace the new additions to our squads after the fall tryout. 

Our cheerleaders push themselves to continually improve upon their skills.  We always say, "It is not normal to throw humans in the air." They take their sport very seriously and always want to be the best. 

We have an incredibly diverse group of young ladies that compose our cheerleading squads.  We love our differences and embrace what everyone brings to the team.  We are a family.  As coaches, we always tell the girls, "You are going to spend A LOT of time together. There will be days that you are frustrated with each other.  Just as you cannot choose your own siblings, you didn't get to choose each other.  You are a family.  You will love one another, and will treat each other as such. 

5. What has been a high point for your squad this year?

Our Varsity Cheerleading Squad was chosen to by the Missouri State High School Activities Association to present the medals and brackets at the Missouri State Wrestling Championship Tournament in front of thousands in Columbia.

6. Has anything special happened for any of your squad members this year?

Both our Fall and Winter senior nights were wonderful celebrations of our senior cheerleaders and their families.

7. Are there any particular squad members who should be recognized for anything special? If so, what and why?

Our seniors are fantastic leaders.  We know that we can always count on them when we need anything at all.   

8. As coach/sponsor, what are you most proud of when it comes to your squad?

My coaching staff and I have high expectations for our cheerleaders.  We expect them to perform well as a team member and as a student.  Our cheerleaders do not disappoint and strive to meet all expectations.  We have a wonderful group of young women that we are proud to work with. 

9. Is there anything you would like to say about your squad, what they do, how hard they work, etc.?

In addition to cheering at games/matches, the Waynesville High School Cheerleaders host Future Cheerleading clinics and performances for the local community.  Future Cheerleading is held twice per year, once during the fall season and once during the winter season, with approximately 300 kindergarten through fifth graders for each season.  These are incredibly organized events, but are still a huge undertaking.  The girls always rise to the occasion and love working with the little ones.

Our cheerleaders are also responsible for the planning and implementation of WHS Pep Assemblies.  There are typically five of these assemblies per year in which the cheerleaders perform, facilitate games, lead class competitions, and invite other performance groups within the school to be highlighted.