Central Noble cheer

The boys on Central Noble’s varsity cheerleading team are bases, who hold up the flyers and perform different stunts during basketball games. See the story on Page A5.

ALBION — Men have been part of cheerleading teams at the college level for many years and they’re now increasingly joining teams at the professional level.

Many big name colleges like Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame have men on their cheer teams at both football and basketball games.

Where males haven’t been a part of cheer teams often is at the high school level.

That’s changing at one local high school where the varsity cheerleading team has recruited eight boys as bases, the people who lift up the flyers and throw them into the air and catch them, for this winter sports season.

Jamie Worman coaches the high school’s cheer team and is in her first year running the program. She said the idea to recruit boys to the team started back in the fall.

“I had sat down with the girls on our team and spoke with them about how to rebuild our program,” she said.

The team in the past has only had a handful of people with only as much as 6 girls on the team.

The guys on the team are multi-sport athletes, many of them play on the football team and are apart of the wrestling team. The wrestlers split their time between that and the cheer team.

She said the guys on the team take their roles seriously and are doing a good job as first timers for cheerleading.

“The guys quickly realized this was not as easy as they thought it would be when they first started,” she said. “They had to learn the different safety issues in the beginning.”

She said the guys have worked really hard and have been absolutely amazing to have them apart of the team.

Girls on the cheer team first approached guys from the football team about joining for the winter season, hoping to recruit them as bases.

The guys saw joining the cheer team as a joke when first approached about it.

Isaac Clay, a senior who is a base on the cheer team, said he along with other guys thought cheerleading wouldn’t be as hard as their other sports they compete in and that they would do it with ease.

“Some of the guys saw it as an opportunity to receive an easy varsity letter to put on their high school resume,” he said.

He said most of the guys including himself are fast learners and were able to pick up what they need to pretty quick.

The guys soon realized how challenging cheerleading can be.

“The challenge of it is what makes it fun,” he said. “It can be pretty intense with the level of difficult that is apart of the sport.”

Other local high schools have begin to notice what Central Noble has been able to do this winter.

Worman said she has received compliments from other cheer coaches around the region.

“The number one question I get from them is ‘where did they come from?’ because they’re having trouble trying to recruit guys for their teams,” she said.

Fremont and Lakeland high schools have guys on their cheer teams, but have much fewer of them compared to the eight guys at Central Noble.

Trying to convince more guys to join the team will be a challenge for them going forward.

Most of the guys currently on the team are seniors, and only three are juniors who will be returning next year.

Clay said there are some unknowns about next year in who they will be able to persuade to join.

“There are many guys at our school, especially the underclassmen who think of the idea of being on the cheer team is weird,” he said.

The guys on the cheer team often get joked about by other guys for being part of the team.

The one positive for the guys being part of the team is that more people have come out to basketball games to watch them perform on the court.

She said the crowd has enjoyed seeing the guys out there performing with the girls.

“The girls on the team love it as well because it opens many new possibilities for them to do different stunts,” she said.

An example is that the guys are able to throw the girls up into the air higher than before.

“The guys allow them to do things they couldn’t do before,” she said.

The cheer team plans on bringing people from the Universal Cheerleaders Association to host a stunt camp for the guys to improve their skills. The organization brings in college cheerleaders from across the country to host camps for high school students to learn different cheer sets.

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