Cheerleaders incorporate new cheers, pump up crowd

Caroline Meinzenbach, Opinion Editor

Form banana. Form, form banana.
Peel banana. Peel, peel banana.
Go bananas. Go, go bananas.
This is one of the many cheers the BV cheerleaders perform at the football games to get the student body pumped up.
Varsity cheerleader junior Paige Sims said the cheerleaders do a lot of things behind the scenes that many people don’t know.
“I don’t think people realize how much we do to support the teams,” Sims said. “It takes a lot of time and effort.”
The BV cheer squad, consisting of 14 freshman, 10 JV and 18 varsity cheerleaders, practices every day during seventh hour to prepare for upcoming sporting events. The girls also attend a four-day camp over the summer.
This year, the Universal Cheerleaders Association camp was at the Lake of the Ozarks. They competed against teams from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
“We had to be peppy from the time we woke up [6 a.m.] until we went to bed [11 p.m.],” JV cheerleader sophomore Aubrey Myer said. “It was insane.”
The teams took classes taught by college cheerleaders, learning about different stunts, cheers and ways to get the crowd involved. The cheerleaders incorporate these new techniques in their routines at football games.
“Before, we were very structured,” varsity cheer captain senior Annie Wilcoxon said. “Everyone had a certain position they had to be in. Now, we’re spread out, and we just go wherever.”
At camp, every team learns the same dance when they arrive. Each team practices the routine and personalizes it. At the end of camp, each team performs its dance, and judges choose a winner.
“It made us more motivated, being compared to others,” Sims said.
Wilcoxon said they personalized the dance by adding in ‘Go Tigers’ or ‘Go BV’ to make their team stand out.
“We had a lot of teamwork that other teams didn’t have,” Wilcoxon said. “We made everything flow.”
This summer, the JV and varsity squads won first place in the camp competition, becoming back-to-back champions.
“They worked hard,” cheer coach Michele Wirt said. “They set a goal to win again. I was really proud.”
Principal Scott Bacon wore the official BV cheerleading uniform at the all-school picnic on Aug. 19 to recognize the cheerleaders’ win over the summer.
“It was cool that he supported us like that,” Myer said.
The cheer team brought back what they learned at camp to make their performances better and encourage the fans to yell with them during cheers.
“It pushed us to work hard and improve our weaknesses as a team,” Sims said. “We have changed our cheering style. It’s more crowd involvement and pumping up school spirit.”
Fans of BV sports have noticed the change in the routines.
“I’ve had football parents and soccer parents thank me for how good the girls were,” Wirt said. “I haven’t had that happen in the last few years.”
The cheerleaders spend five hours every Wednesday to make the varsity football run-through. After the paint dries, varsity members come back to school to roll it up.
“No one knows what we do,” Wilcoxon said. “Just them knowing would be enough.”
Wirt said she hopes to see more recognition for the teams’ accomplishments in the future.
“As we progress forward, recognition will come,” Wirt said. “If they work for it, they will see recognition from the school.”