Cheer team seek energetic co-ed members in tryouts

Kelly Hurla

Male cheerleaders, yell leaders, stunt leaders, or whatever the name may be, the Washburn Cheer Squad is looking for traditional cheerleaders for the upcoming tryouts.

“Washburn has a long history of yell leaders,” said Hallie Godfrey, Washburn cheer coach. “I know even back to the 80s and before, there have been guys on squad. I really want to build the team back to a partial co-ed team like it has been in the past.”

There are many benefits to having guys on the squad. Adding to performance, guys would help achieve higher performance moves like the basket tosses and stronger pyramids. Just being a cheerleader holds rewards for guys or girls, both.

“At first I had my doubts,” said Lyle Rucker, former cheer squad member from 2005-07. “I started to see at a collegiate level, people are more impressed at what you can do on the courts and on the field.”

The squad is looking for girls with previous cheer experience, or with skills in gymnastics tumbling, and other qualifications in the area. There’s no experience needed for guys. Many don’t start to cheer until college, so the squad is willing to teach them what they need to become a member.

Rucker was recruited by cheerleaders in class and enjoyed being a member ever since.

“For guys it’s not too terrible,” said Rucker. “We’re more than less putting people in the air and getting our voices out there.”

While a member of the squad, Rucker enjoyed working hard to participate in competitions, some at the national level. Currently the squad is not doing any competitions, but that is something Godfrey wants to work for in the near future. 

“Being a college cheerleader is an amazing experience,” said Godfrey. “From a practical standpoint, employers are taking cheer very seriously. They realize that cheerleaders have great job skills such as being able to work as a team, time management, dedication and an outgoing and friendly attitude.”

Currently, the cheerleaders practice up to four hours a week, in addition to games. When there are lots of games though, practice isn’t needed said Godfrey.  Godfrey said that while it takes dedication, it is possible to cheer and go to school successfully.

“You become part of something that will change you forever,” said Godfrey. “The amount of trust and teamwork cheerleading takes is unlike any other sport. Not to mention the usual – great ‘seats’ at every game, scholarships and tournament travel.”

For those interested, cheerleading tryouts will be held Dec. 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Petro Allied Health Center in the dance room. 

“The season is ongoing,” said Godfrey. “So as soon as they make it, they will start practicing. As soon as I have a uniform for them, and they know the game material, they can be on the court.”