Building from the Base Up

Dedication and returning experience allows cheerleading team to up their game.


Addy Smith

Jamie Dykes ’19 cheers on the Little Hawks during their game against Linn-Mar Friday night.

Addy Smith, Sports Editor

Although the cheerleading team consists of only 12 people, that doesn’t stop them from having growing goals.

“We are stronger as a team and this year we have a better bond than the other years. We have more returning people so the skill level is already higher so we can work on improving rather than getting everyone that’s new up to speed,” Charlisa Overton ‘18 said.

In addition to having a higher level of skill this season, the cheerleaders have put in the work in the weight room necessary to success.

“My squad did a great job preparing for the season during the offseason, by attending the summer weightlifting sessions and continued that during the fall as well. That was important for the team because their goal was to more advanced stunts and to do that we needed to get stronger,” Coach Lucy Joseph said.

Another crucial part of accomplishing advanced stunts is trust. Due to being with each other at least six days a week and having a group chat, the squad has become a very close-knit group.

“As a base, I think all of the people on the bottom have to get to know the people you are working with and try to trust each other and watch each other when you are doing everything to make sure no matter what that she does not touch the floor,” Overton said.

Whereas trust is the most important part of being a base, confidence is inarguably just as crucial for flyers.

“Confidence is a big thing. There are times when I am too scared to do a stunt. Then when you are scared you mess up and it really prohibits you,” Madeline Kimm ‘19 said. “And we have people that have never done anything related to cheerleading before high school cheer.”

Despite a disappointing season for the football season, through advanced stunts and team chemistry, the cheerleading team has been able to further accomplish their main goal: having fun.

“We try to focus on the crowd and having fun, like let’s make sure the crowd has fun. [Our mindset] is to keep up the good spirit over here because it’s the only way the boys are going to get any kind of support is from the crowd,” Kimm said.

The cheerleading team wants to extend the camaraderie that they are familiar with within their team to the student section as well.

“We want the student body to understand that we are working really hard so that they can have a good time and that the football players can have a good time. We just want to have that kind of mutual respect for each other,” Kimm said.

Coach Joseph believes that having a large student section will help accomplish that goal.

I would love to see more students come out and cheer on all City High programs and work with the cheerleaders to do that,” Joseph said.

In order to be able to work hard for other City High teams, the cheer squad prepares rigorously.

“For football season we get to practice at 6 am, we start and do announcements, we run and we stretch and work on kicks and jumps; just to get ready. Then we work on either game day stuff or stuff we would do in a competition and then finish up with stunting and conditioning,” Kimm said.

The hard work seems to be paying off. Overton, Kimm, and Katelyn Ortiz ‘19 made the 2017 Iowa Cheer Coaches Honor Bowl, and Overton and Lauren Grove ‘20 made it to the Shrine Bowl. Ortiz and Overton are also both UCA All-Americans.

Although currently, only individual cheerleaders are able to cheer beyond the City High boundaries, Coach Joseph would like for her entire team to be able to compete in front of judges.

“[I want] to increase our numbers next year because I would like to have a competition squad. With the help of my seniors and returning cheerleaders we’re hoping to start the cheerleading program back up at South East Junior High.”

Even with all of the time they spend practicing, the cheer team still makes a point to volunteer at multiple for community events and organizations throughout the year.

“We like to give back and we like to show people that because there are a lot of stereotypes about cheerleaders and what they are kind of like. We want to show them that we actually care about what we are doing and our school and our community,” Kimm said.