Mt. Pleasant Panther Competition Cheer Team Interview with Paige Stater by Zoe D’Angelo Nomination by Jennifer Stater Photography by Shelley Doak Iowa Issue 15
The Nomination: The Mt. Pleasant Panther Competition Cheer Team is comprised of some of the best student athletes our school district has to offer. No athletic program trains longer or harder than these young women. Pound for pound, there are no stronger, dedicated, and talented athletes in our schools. These student athletes volunteer their time at many community events acting as ambassadors of the Mt. Pleasant Schools. They also organize and perform at all pep rallies and decorate the high school for homecoming.
These young women sacrifice so much for this program, a program that oftentimes does not get the respect it deserves. They give their time, energy, and talent. They don't do it for the recognition; they do it because they care about their school. They are the most inspirational student athletes I have ever met.
Teamates: Cara Canby, Libby Ensminger, Sydney Doak, Sami Jo Crawford, Maddie Van De Berg, Zoe Bentler, Naudia Beachy, Emily Stark, Anna Ostby, Ryann Davidson, and Kaela Welcher are all members of the cheer team. Our coach is Nikole Keaster.
How many hours a week do you and your team train? In early June, our three-day choreography camp is intense. We practice twelve hours per day. During the regular season, from June until November, we usually practice twice a week for 1-2 hours. As we get closer to our competitions, sometimes we practice every day for 2-3 hours.
What is your favorite thing about being a cheerleader and representing your school? My favorite thing about being a cheerleader is being together as a team. We are like sisters and each one brings something special to the group. They are the most inspiring young women I have ever met. Cheerleading brings out leadership and confidence in people. Cheerleading has taught me to never give up, even when things get difficult. I also love getting to be a part of every football and basketball game, as well as every assembly our school holds. Our cheer teams show great pride in our school, and we do our best to represent it in the most positive ways. We have also been given the opportunity to participate in a variety of community functions, and we love representing our school.
Tell me about the season so far. We are so proud of what we have accomplished, but this season has been a little more difficult than most. Throughout summer, a lot of the team was gone, so we couldn’t stunt and work on important techniques. We also had several injuries toward the last month of the season. Almost half of the team had to have back braces, and the rest had either a shoulder, wrist or an ankle taped. Our injuries were somewhat discouraging since we had put so much time, effort, and dedication into the season, however we persevered and received 3rd place in class 3A at the State Cheer Competition.
How did you become interested in cheerleading? When I was a little girl, I always looked up to the high school cheerleaders; but I became truly interested when I went to state cheer my 8th grade year. I noticed the bond between the girls and all the fun they were having. I knew their relationship was special, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Do you plan on continuing with cheer in the future? I am thinking about cheering in college. We have had several former members of our cheer team go on to cheer at the collegiate level. Our coach does a fantastic job preparing us for that.
The Mt. Pleasant Panther Competition Cheer Team was featured in Issue 15 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.