Cheerleaders adjust to many changes


With all of the hype surrounding the basketball programs, the cheerleading program is often overlooked. Fans are so focused on the court and the players, while the cheerleaders are on the sideline working hard. They put in preparation and practice but receive little recognition.  

“In the the past couple years, I feel like the cheerleaders haven’t gotten much credit for the work we’ve put in,” sophomore Jessica Steggerda said. “But this year, we’ve gotten a lot more credit for our work, especially compared to last year, which is nice because we are able to become involved in more events like the auction and pep rallies.”

One major change in the cheer program this year is the new coach. The cheerleaders welcomed alumnae and former KCC cheerleader, Kristi Smith-High. Smith-High graduated in 1997 and went onto to cheer for the University of Kansas and the St. Louis Rams.

With all of Smith-High’s experience, she brought her own style along with her.

“We stand on the opposite side of the baskets, a lot closer to the players,” sophomore Annelise Madderom said. “We also do a lot more defense/offense cheers as well as a lot more dancing.”

Another major change in the program is the number of new cheerleaders. Three new cheerleaders- freshmen Sky Barratt and Libby Paul and sophomore Abby Swafford- joined the team alongside the veteran cheerleaders: sophomores Jessica Steggerda, Annelise Madderom, and Sophie Kieffer, and junior Paige Hardt. Furthermore, the squad lost two seniors, leaving only one upperclassmen.

“I actually enjoy being the only upperclassmen on the squad,” Hardt said. “I view it as a challenge and I like that.”

With new coaches and cheerleaders, the team dynamic has changed enormously.

“It’s weird because we have a brand new squad and a brand new coach, and it is hard for all of the new things to work perfectly together,” Madderom said.

One challenge the group has faced is lack of experience. With several new faces and minimal practice time, the group hasn’t had the opportunity to learn new cheers as often as they did last year.

“We definitely have to review a lot of cheers since we don’t have a lot of inexperience,” Hardt said. “Practices are spent reviewing more than learning, but that time allows us all to improve our cheers.”

This season, the team has faced several changes and difficulties that are foreign to last year’s squad. The team received a new coach, several new cheerleaders, and very few upperclassmen. The squad has persevered through their season and improved with every game this year.