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Archive for Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cheerleading proves strenuous, rewarding

April 17, 2007

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Editor's Note: Members of Angle, a Journal-World student advisory board, recently were divided into teams and given a task to interview two Kansas University cheerleaders and write a story in 45 minutes. During the process, they learned interviewing, photography and writing skills.

Kansas University cheerleading tryouts are April 28-29 and Lyndsay Bettlach and Adam Harley are feeling the pressure.

The tryout process includes a variety of things such as tumbling, a cheer, a fight song and stunts.

"There are a lot of people watching," said Harley, a sophomore.

The spirit squad is being reduced from 32 members to a more manageable 28, and Bettlach expects the competition to be a lot harder.

"It's intimidating," she admitted, "but everyone's there for the same reason."

Both Bettlach and Harley were cheerleaders last year and they say the pressure doesn't stop after making the team.

Balancing academics with practices can be difficult.

"Either you're up all night or you get everything done during the day," said Bettlach, a junior.

The two, who both major in sports and fitness management, said cheering can cause serious injuries. Bettlach and Harley have had surgeries.

Despite the injuries, pressure and high dedication level, they agreed "it's worth the excitement."

"There's a really big rush," Harley said. "It's really exciting."

Cheerleading has taken them to national competition, the Big 12 Tournament and dozens of exciting KU games.

Compared to high school, they said it's much more work, but there's a higher reward.

Aside from the exciting opportunities, the team is very tight-knit.

"I don't have many close friends who aren't on the squad," Bettlach said.

- Kim Carter and Victoria Gilman are eighth-graders at West Junior High School.

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