Cheerleading coach implements renewed application, tryout process


Striving to improve technicalities with more advanced stunts, jumps and tumbling, Andrea Goodrich, varsity cheerleading coach, modified the tryout process. Several changes were implemented to develop and enhance the dedication of its potential athletes, blurring the general perception of the sport’s association with a specific gender.
One of the alterations was the addition of a written application packet that included a basic profile of the athlete and two signed forms of consent, which had to be completed before tryouts. In previous years, tryouts were completed in one day, during which students demonstrated a cheer, a jump, tumbling skills and splits. However, this year, the tryout process took place over the course of a week, from Oct. 28-31. On the last day, cheerleaders were put in groups of three to showcase a jump, a cheer, a dance routine while judges gave scores based on a rubric for each category. For bonus points, cheerleaders performed tumbling skills, splits, original dance or an original cheer.
“Last year, the senior captains led the tryouts since I was new, but I changed it this year because I do not think members of the team should be picking who is on the team,” Coach Goodrich said. “In order for us to compete with the teams we saw at KAIAC last year, we have to step up our game, so naturally, the level of skill I expect from my cheerleaders is higher.”
In response to the more rigorous tryout process, cheerleaders such as Yuni Sohn (12) have been attending private gyms. According to Yuni, the classes are stress-relieving opportunities where she can freely experiment with different skills.
“These classes are different in that you don’t spend time perfecting the skills you already have, but focus on skills you do not already know,” Yuni said. “The teachers there advise me on my posture and place a huge emphasis on stretching, so [the classes] help me improve my flexibility, which is important for any cheerleader.”
In addition to the increased dedication of the athletes and changes to tryouts, cheerleading has attracted the attention of not only female athletes, but also male athletes. According to Mason Min (10), the long history of a girls-only squad had discouraged male students from trying out, before Sabin Macklin (10) joined the team last year.
“Cheerleading might seem like a ‘ladies’ sports but it actually requires a lot of strength,” Mason said. “I was most concerned about not being flexible, but after watching [Sabin] become more flexible, I was encouraged to try out. Sabin always talks about how practices and team dinners are really fun, so I wanted an opportunity to be a part of that environment.”