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 Crocker High School.

Submitted by Anastasia Prothro

1. How hard does your squad work? How often does your squad practice? How many hours are spent practicing?
Our squad spent around 4-5 hours per week practicing, from October through late February.
2. What does it take to be a good cheerleader on your squad?
A good cheerleader on any squad puts in 100% of his/her effort.
3. Describe your squad. What are they like?
The squad is made up of freshmen-seniors, ten girls and one boy. They don’t always get along perfectly, but when it matters, they pull together and put in the work.
4. How long does it take to learn a new routine or cheer?
 It takes some members longer than others, but they have been known to learn an entire dance routine in a matter of two hours.
5. What is the most difficult thing your squad has tried to tackle this year?
The Frisco League routine is always a challenge. They want to do something different and truly enjoy dancing.
6. What has been a high point for your squad this year?
Cheering for our high school boys basketball team during the first game of the Elite 8 again Purdy in Springfield is definitely one of the highest points.
7. Are there any particular squad members who should be recognized for anything special? If so, what and why? Erica Cooper has been a cheerleader since her freshman year and has managed to take the reins as the unofficial captain this year. She has also been willing to try new stunts and add new cheers the last two years. She is a strong leader.
8. As coach/sponsor, what are you most proud of when it comes to your squad?
I’m proud of the fact that they are willing to try to new stunts and cheers while following MSHSAA guidelines and that they don’t scare easily.
9. What is something that people should know about your squad that they probably don't?
They are athletes in every sense of the word. That is probably said by many cheer coaches, but cheerleaders still often get dismissed as just being a side show when they actually practice, exercise, and work hard to perform like athletes.
10. Is there anything you would like to say about your squad, what they do, how hard they work, etc.?
I was new as a cheer coach and honestly had little idea what was expected me of me in the beginning. The squads I have had, this one especially, have been understanding and have worked hard. They have taught me more than I have probably taught them.

Submitted by Erica Cooper,
Senior cheerleader/unofficial captain

1. What do you love about cheerleading?
Cheerleading is the one thing that I can put my everything into. Cheerleading has become a crutch, stress reliever, and an all-around blessing. I love getting the crowd hyped during an intense game, landing a super cool stunt in front of hundreds of people, and dancing at Frisco and Homecoming. However, the best part about cheerleading is feeling a part of something.

2. What is something that you would like people to understand about cheerleading or cheerleaders?
Cheerleading is believed to be the “easiest” sport. People do not take into consideration the hours that we spend perfecting the simplest movements. We take our sidelines, floor cheers, stunts, and our dances very seriously and spend our entire practices perfecting them. There is a lot more to cheerleading than most people would think.
3. What is your favorite cheer and why?
The new ones our squad came up with this year, especially our homecoming floor cheer.
4. What are you most proud of accomplishing as a cheerleader this year?
The accomplishment I am most proud of this year would be perfecting our homecoming dance. We had squad members, as well as myself, out the entire week before. We practiced everyday after school and even some days before. The part that made this accomplishment so worthwhile was the many compliments that we are still getting.
5. What do you think being a cheerleader has taught you?
Cheerleading has undoubtedly taught me how to be a true leader. Since my freshman year, I have been taught how to talk to people I didn’t know, call out cheers in the quietest gyms, and direct my squad in the direction of being bold and positive. Cheerleading has been my greatest blessing.