Updates from Upperclassmen: People excited for return of A.L.’s cheerleading program
Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 15, 2023
Updates from Upperclassmen by Lillian Crissinger
Coming back to school has brought some new changes, one of which is the restoration of the Albert Lea cheerleading team. The Albert Lea cheerleaders made their comeback after 12 years! This is the ninth team (out of 12) in the Big 9 Conference to have a cheerleading team. For this fall season there are 16 girls on the team. Head coach Anne Sternhagen said the cheerleaders are going to be cheering for the home football games in the fall, and they plan to cheer at the boys and girls home basketball games as well. She says she hopes to cheer for the soccer, hockey and wrestling teams next year. Coach Sternhagen expressed great excitement for rebuilding this program. She hopes to build up a middle school team as well in the coming years!
Our school’s first interaction with the new cheerleaders was at this year’s first pep fest. The majority of the girls are in 10th grade, and it is great to see so many young students joining to spread the school spirit around. The cheerleading program encourages more students to participate in school spirit activities and has great inclusivity! This fresh team called for some brand new uniforms, looking fierce and ready to hype up the whole student section. As we get ready to cheer on our teams, we also get ready to cheer with our new cheerleaders!
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Speaking with some of last year’s graduates, they talked about how they were very excited about the return of the cheerleaders, and how they cannot wait to see them at this year’s homecoming game! Some even said they were jealous that they missed the opportunity to be a cheerleader at the high school. All they had to say about the return of cheerleaders was that they thought it was an amazing opportunity not only for our school but also for our community.
In school there is talk amongst the students about learning the cheers and getting ready to get pumped up at the games. A video might also be made to learn the cheers before the games.
Some staff have said they are excited to have the cheerleaders back after so long, saying that it takes a lot to get up in front of the whole school and cheer on because some are afraid of negative backlash.
I spoke with the cheer team captain, Stephanie Lazaro; she talked about how they were super excited about the new experience that was now offered for them. She said that the team has bonded very well during the early season. Lazaro commented on how the practices were full of fun and lots of laughter. She explained that some of the girls are a little nervous when it comes to being up in front of people; Lazaro said she tells them not to worry about the judgy people. She says: ‘they’re always gonna be there so just ignore them… Haters gonna hate’.
Captain Lazaro says the team is super excited about the student sections at the games.
As the program grows, some have expressed the want for boys to join as well, and they hope stunts will soon follow. Coach Sternhagen had also mentioned that there will be tryouts in the spring for the 2024-25 season, so keep your eyes open for those upcoming dates.
Lillian Crissinger is a senior at Albert Lea High School.