Senior Jackie Wieser was selected to be part of the All-State cheerleading squad after trying out in October. The All-State Cheerleading team is an exclusive squad of only 32 cheerleaders selected from schools all across the state of Iowa. Over 200 girls tryout for the squad every year.
After tryouts, the judges determine the top 32 cheerleaders and inform the coaches of who has made the squad. They practice three to four different Sundays each month throughout the first three months of the upcoming year. They learn a routine including a variety of skills. Some of these skills include tumbling, stunting, and dancing. They then perform at the boys’ state basketball tournament, which is in March.
“I have tried out for All-State Cheerleading ever since I was a freshman. It was always just a fun experience with my teammates, and I never imagined I would make the squad,” said Wieser. “At tryouts we showcase our jumps, tumbling, dancing, and cheering abilities.”
Wieser’s love for cheering has been evident from a young age.
“As a kid I was involved in dance and gymnastics. I also competed in gymnastics for several years before becoming a cheerleader,” said Wieser. “My favorite thing to do was watch the cheerleaders at the football games. When I got to middle school, I finally had the opportunity to cheer for basketball, and I loved it from the start.”
Despite many successes, Wieser has experienced challenges throughout her time being a cheerleader; mainly regarding society’s negative view of cheer.
“One of the biggest challenges has been other people’s perception of cheer. Not a lot of people understand what we do and why we do it,” said Wieser. “There is a lot more to cheer than just yelling and shaking our poms.”
Wieser has been training to try out for the Iowa State Cheerleading squad this upcoming spring. Iowa State holds several camps for people that are trying to become Iowa State cheerleaders; she attended one this fall. Wieser has also been taking private stunting and tumbling lessons at Koach AllStars in Ankeny. She has worked with two different coaches who had coached or are stilling coaching for the Iowa State team. She is hoping to continue her cheerleading career at Iowa State University next fall.
“I always dreamed of cheering at Iowa State, and whenever I watched college games, I was only interested in the cheerleaders,” said Wieser. “I will be very honored if I happen to make the squad.”
Wieser has considered being a part of the PHS Cheer squad a positive experience. Sophomore Ella Johnson has appreciated her contribution to the squad
“She’s a great leader, and we’re gonna miss her next year.” said Ella Johnson.
Wieser will also miss her Pella High teammates after four years of cheering together.
“There are so many things about cheerleading that I love. One of my favorite parts of cheering is the bond I get to make with all of the other girls on the squad. We all spend so much time together throughout the season and develop such close relationships. When someone lifts me in the air, we develop a sense of trust for each other that can’t be replicated anywhere else. These girls have become my family, and I love that about cheerleading.”