Cheerleading makes a comeback at Marshfield High School
By Bailey Cichon
MARSHFIELD — Pompoms glittered under the lights at Beell Stadium Sept. 9 as cheers resonated around the field. There was a fresh feeling as the Marshfield Tigers took on Oshkosh West. The source of this energy was the newly resurrected Marshfield High School Cheer and Stunt Team.
Together, Jessica LeMoine and Sommer Schreiner, staff members at the high school, revived cheerleading in Marshfield for the 2016 football season.
“Overall we saw that the attendance at all of our events was down, so we thought, ‘What better way to boost school spirit than a cheerleading team?’” LeMoine said. “We really redid homecoming (last year), and you could feel all of the momentum going in the right direction. At that time I emailed Sommer and said, ‘I think now is the time. I think we should bring this back.’”
Marshfield High School altered many homecoming traditions last year in an effort to bring the school together.
“Before, (homecoming traditions) put more focus on the silly pranks, almost a borderline bullying issue with upperclassmen versus lower classmen. There was just really nothing that made you proud as a community, proud as a Tiger,” LeMoine said.
“Last year with the success of homecoming and changing school spirit, the natural progression of things was cheerleaders,” explained Schreiner.
The pair was successful in their efforts, and the cheerleading program was reborn. In the middle of July, the team of 13 carefully selected girls went to a camp at Wausau West to learn cheers and basic stunts.
“We are working on (stunts). There’s a lot of restrictions for that, and we want to keep the girls safe. Safety is our upmost concern,” explained Schreiner.
The team will be selling wash cards for South Car Wash as a fundraiser in the upcoming weeks.
The new generation
The team has big plans for homecoming on Oct. 7.
“We are going to be in the parade. We are also working with the band to make a halftime show,” said Aleah Free, a senior and one of the captains of the team. Free added, “Since (the cheer team) is so new, people don’t know what to expect. There’s been a lot of watching to see how things go over with the school, community, and the students as we try new things.”
Zaria Noth and Rhiannon Rueth, both juniors at Marshfield High School, echoed Free’s thought.
“There’s a lot of pressure. Nobody is used to cheer. They don’t know how to feel about it. It’s hard to rise up to the expectations,” stated Noth.
“There’s a lot of stigma about cheerleaders. In movies, cheerleaders are known to be sassy. We have to make sure that we don’t fall into that stereotype,” explained Rueth.
Though the community is carefully watching the cheer team, the cheerleaders have not experienced criticism.
“We’ve gotten a lot of compliments from parents who used to be cheerleaders. Now little girls who are in youth cheerleading can look up to us and say, ‘I want to do that in high school,’” Free said.
Both Noth and Rueth took part in youth cheerleading when they were in elementary school. In seventh grade, they became coaches through the program. “My personal reward is that I’m achieving a dream that I’ve had since I was a little girl,” Noth said.
Summing up the cheer experience, Rueth said, “You just need to be positive. You need to make sure you know how to take a loss. You need to be friendly with your teammates and just be a happy person in general. The team is a big family. At the end of the day, we have so many people to look forward to seeing (at practice). We have someone to rely on and two great coaches.”
See the Marshfield Cheer and Stunt Team and the Marshfield Tigers in action at Beell Stadium on Sept. 30 against Stevens Point.