In a school that practically bleeds maroon and gold, Phoenix cheerleaders energize both our players and our fans.
Whether in the air and on the ground, this squad can always be heard. And this year is no different.
“We’re looking really good. We had a lot of new girls which was a concern at first, but we worked very hard in the offseason and I think we’re actually better than we were last year,” Kelsey Norkett said.
The girls that fly through the air aren’t the only ones who have helped this program get off its feet. Behind the glitter and glamour is pure muscle.
“Guys are a huge part of the team. Obviously for the coed team the girls wouldn’t get in the air if the guys weren’t underneath them,” Norkett said.
It’s not the first time these guys have been out on the field.
“I was a three sport athlete. I was a wrestler, baseball, and soccer,” Billy Utasi said.
Even for a three-sport athlete cheerleading is more than enough of a challenge. Freshman Billy Utasi learned this quickly.
“Workouts are very intense. We work out four times a week, varsity gym with personal trainers,” Utasi said. “We just run through for two hours, one and a half hours, of just intense- we do bench, squats, deadlifts, everything.”
The guys on the team have been athletes for most of their lives. They work as hard as anybody out here, but still face stereotypes that other athletes don’t.
But despite this stigma, sophomore James Connolly doesn’t let it hold him back.
“A lot of people give me weird looks and they don’t believe me, but I’m proud to be a cheerleader. It’s a lot of work,” Connolly said.