Special Assignments Reporter
Pierce has spirit: Cheerleading tryouts put students to the test
The Pierce College Cheer Squad broke a record this fall when it recently added nine new members to the team. The squad now has 18 members: four men and 14 women, the largest number the squad has ever seen. In the past, the squad never had more than 12 members.
Tryouts to be a part of the Raiders Cheer Squad were held at the Fort Steilacoom campus Oct. 8-11. Both women and men were urged to try out. Running Start students were eligible to tryout as well.
The tryouts were held differently this year than previously. In the past, recruits went through two days of instruction and practice and the third day was dedicated to the tryouts.
This year, head cheerleading Coach Katelin Grothe, referred to as “Coach Kay,” included an extra day of instruction because she added stunts into the mix.
After three days of instruction came the day of the tryouts. Grothe brought in a panel of judges to help choose the new members. Students had to demonstrate the skills they learned during the three days of instruction and were rated based on a specific point system.
The response to the tryouts was positive this year, according to Grothe. There were 15 students who went through the tryout process, nine of whom were accepted to the squad. Grothe didn’t have a set number of people she planned to accept for the team this year. She made her decision based on how the tryouts went.
The team members worked hard this year to spread the word about tryouts.
“We definitely amped up our recruiting this year,” Grothe said.
This is Grothe’s second year coaching at Pierce College. She is setting high standards for the squad and wants them to be at the level of other colleges.
“I am still new to the coaching world, so I want to be able to learn from my squad and grow as a person and a coach because I want to be able to offer one of the best cheer programs and experiences for my squad,” Grothe said.
The squad cheers at all the basketball games as well as a few preseason volleyball games. The cheerleaders have about 40 to 50 cheers they must memorize.
Grothe was a student at Pierce and cheered during her time, so she knows what to look for in a potential squad member. No prior cheer experience was necessary to try out.
In order to be a Pierce cheerleader, Grothe looks for students who have potential, a good attitude, a willingness to learn and lots of spirit.
This year, Grothe wants to help the squad members achieve their goals.
“My goals for my team [are] to be able to try and meet everyone’s individual goals, whether it’s hitting a certain stunt or just becoming like a family,” Grothe said. “If I can help my squad achieve personal and group goals, then I have done my job to fulfill and give each member a rewarding experience.”
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