Alex Heldrich, Reporter
Pierce College Puyallup students who don’t attend the Fort Steilacoom campus may not know much about the Raiders Cheerleading Squad. It’s is an active part of Raiders athletics, as members cheer at all home basketball games, two volleyball games, the Turkey Tournament and Women’s Holiday Tournament.
This season, 14 students were on the squad led by head coach Katelin Grothe, who enjoys being a part of each member’s growth during the season.
“I have two favorite parts of coaching,” Grothe said. “The first part is tryouts. Tryouts are always so exciting with the new faces and returners and all the potential. The second part is watching each person grow throughout the season and do things they couldn’t do when they first got accepted onto the squad.”
During this season, the squad learned six routines, which were performed during halftime at home basketball games. Grothe said the team typically learns a new routine for every game, but this season members were preparing for a cheerleading competition, so they didn’t learn as many. The team was not able to compete though due to complications, Grothe said.
“We usually teach a routine in a day,” Grothe said. “However, remembering and getting all of the elements down, like stunting, takes weeks. Depending how advanced the routine is, they could learn an entire routine Friday at practice and perform it Saturday during halftime.”
As the season ended in February, Grothe said she’s proud of the cheerleaders hard work and dedication.
“This group has put countless hours into cheer,” Grothe said. “They worked their butts off inside and outside of practices and cheer events to be better and do better not only for themselves but for their team. It’s truly an amazing thing, to watch each person excel.”
Next year, Grothe said she’d like to become more involved with the college and the community after hosted some events this year.
The team hosted the Raiders Cheer Camp, in which children ages 5 to 15 could spend a day with the squad and perform in the basketball halftime show.
She’d also like for the squad to compete against other teams next season. Grothe said cheerleading can be quite competitive, and it requires athleticism.
“Anyone who says ‘cheerleading isn’t a sport’ must not have cheered before,” Grothe said. “For everyone who believes cheer is not a sport, I think they should give it a try one time in their life to see how hard each athlete actually works.”
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