By Ashton Beck
As the temperatures begin to rise, and the classrooms soon become empty, the 2015-16 cheerleading team is already in preparation for next season. With a brand new team taking the blue mat, they are also introducing male athletes for the first time since the school first opened in 1967.
Junior Hunter Hampton said at first it was a joke, but then became reality.
“For quite some time I sarcastically said that I was going to be a male cheerleader because I could lift weights easily,” said Hampton. After getting convinced to check out a couple of practices from sophomore Olivia Babbitt, he decided to try out for the team.
Junior Sam Jarboe also decided to try out because he wanted to try something new and it was not what he was anticipating.
“It’s surprisingly really hard. At first I thought it was going to be a walk in the park, but I had a wide awakening after the first couple of practices,” said Jarboe.
Head coach Celeste Bell said the males on the team have great enthusiasm
“The boys contribute a contagious positive attitude. They are always yelling for the team and helping push them when things get hard. They also contribute a different kind of muscle to the team,” said Bell.
Something the boys will bring new to the floor are the lifts.
“From what I have been told, they have not used one mans in their routine so it’s cool doing all these stunts that they have never been able to do,” said Hampton.
Hampton said he is also excited to make the student section the most active it has ever been.
“I’m going to try and get more personal with the crowd. I’m trying to get in the student section, lead cheers side by side with everyone, use megaphones, toss stuff out, and do whatever I can to get people pumped up for the highlanders,” said Hampton.
Bell said this transition into co-ed will strengthen this year and for years to come.
“It shows that boys can cheer if they want to put in the time and hard work which will open the door for other males. Also it strengthens the co-ed cheer experience for the girls in the team as they prepare for college and their future cheer dreams,” said Bell.