Cheerleading requires the full devotion of an athlete

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Cheerleading requires the full devotion of an athlete

Junior Marrissa Almaraz (center) Cheer Captain and the rest of the cheer team energize the crowd at the Akins Homecoming game. The cheer program welcomed new Coach Jordyn Marsh this year.

Junior Marrissa Almaraz (center) Cheer Captain and the rest of the cheer team energize the crowd at the Akins Homecoming game. The cheer program welcomed new Coach Jordyn Marsh this year.

Diego Gutierrez

Junior Marrissa Almaraz (center) Cheer Captain and the rest of the cheer team energize the crowd at the Akins Homecoming game. The cheer program welcomed new Coach Jordyn Marsh this year.

Diego Gutierrez

Diego Gutierrez

Junior Marrissa Almaraz (center) Cheer Captain and the rest of the cheer team energize the crowd at the Akins Homecoming game. The cheer program welcomed new Coach Jordyn Marsh this year.

Greg Roque, Staff Writer

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Being a cheerleader is not all pom-poms and backflips.

It’s also hours of learning choreography, rehearsing cheers and entertaining large crowds.

Cheerleaders have many demands placed upon them much like any other athlete, despite this, cheerleading does not always receive the respect that it deserves.

Cheerleaders at Akins are expected to be there to rally the crowds at football and basketball games as well as lead students in cheers and chants at pep rallies. And then there are the injuries that result when there are falls or when stunts go wrong.

The Akins cheerleaders typically practice two hours a day, four or five days a week.

Just like the athletes they cheer for, the cheerleaders strive to stay positive even when the outcomes of the games don’t go in their favor.

Junior Ariana Gonzalez, who has been a cheerleader since freshman year, said she wanted to be a cheerleader so she could serve as a leader on campus.

You have to have a good attitude. You can’t put your other teammates down.”

— Ariana Gonzalez

“I wanted to represent my school and be known as a leader and be known by people,” she said. “I like being peppy and performing at pep rallies in games and participating in my school.”

She said that cheerleading is like a team sport because it takes a whole squad to be successful in keeping a crowd’s spirits high.

“You have to have a good attitude. You can’t put your other teammates down,” she said.

Junior Kyleigh Gonzalez, who has been a cheerleader for two years, said she wanted to be a cheerleader for Akins because she wanted to belong to a team dedicated to having fun.

“I’m wanting to belong to something like wanting to be a part of a team and go- ing to games and like showing school spirit because a lot of people don’t. I feel like it’s important.”

Gonzalez said being a good cheerleader requires determination in the face of adversity.

“You need to be determined and willing to work with other people and be able to take constructive criticism in a good way,” she said.

Junior Sariya Harmon, who transferred to Akins, said being a cheerleader has helped her make new friends and meet other people.

“I was new to Akins so I really just wanted to meet new people,” Harmon said team spirit is important for cheerleaders.

To be successful, you have to grow and progress so when everyone has that hard-working attitude, you’re constantly growing, and you constantly getting better.”

— Marissa Almaraz

“If one person is in a bad mood, then the whole team’s in a bad mood,” she said.

Junior Marissa Almaraz, has been a cheerleader since she was six years old and she says it takes devotion to make a cheerleading squad successful.

“To be successful, you have to grow and progress so when everyone has that hard-working attitude, you’re constantly growing, and you constantly getting better,” Almaraz said.

Although sideline cheerleading is not an officially labeled a sport, Akins cheerleaders agree that it takes a high degree of dedication and a positive mindset to be successful just like that of winning sports teams.

Cheer Coach Jordyn Marsh said she sees her role as guiding the team to move forward no matter what it encounters.

“I think a good coach is someone who’s able to balance being both serious and also make cheer enjoyable.” Marsh said.

Josh Guerrero contributed to this story.

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