Cheer Adds Male Dimension



Male cheerleaders are in the Palace. The Pirate Palace, that is.
Juniors Kody Cantrell, Hunter Drops, Lane Koster and sophomore Chase Griffith joined the cheer team in October to share their individual skills and enthusiasm.

There have not been boys on the cheer team in several years. Head coach Kallie Mill and assistant coach Tiffany Tibbets, both former Marshfield cheerleaders, returned to coach last season with hopes of bringing competition cheer back to the program and welcoming males on the team.

Drops and Griffith tumble, doing different acrobatics across the floor, such as back flips, front flips and front hand springs. The four boys base for the flyers, throwing the girls above their heads and catching them.

Mill cheered in college and coached for different schools, including Marshfield, before returning in 2013 to mentor the cheer team once again. Mill said she enjoys having the boys on the team.

“I love them. They add a different vibe to the team,” Mill said. “They blend right in and they are respectful and serious.”

According to Drops, cheer is known to be a typically female-oriented sport, but it only takes one guy to break the trend. Drops and Griffith joined at the same time and urged Cantrell and Koster to participate a few weeks later. They have been attending Monday and Tuesday practices in the Multi-Purpose Room in the Harding building at MHS for about two hours.

“It’s actually really fun,” Griffith said. “I’ve always enjoyed doing flips so being on cheer is just another step in that direction.”

The boys have learned how to stunt with junior Quinn Earle and freshman Courtney Matthews, who are flyers on the team. Basing, single basing, extensions and basket tosses are some of the skills they have acquired. The boys are required to hold the girl up and push her into the air, occasionally throwing her many feet above the ground, then catching her. According to Koster, it takes a lot of concentration for a stunt to be successful because one mistake from one person can send the group into chaos in a practice or performance.

“It takes a lot of dedication, trust and multi-tasking to remember all the moves,” Koster said. “We have to work as a team, and everyone is important.”

The boys performed their first time at Meet the Pirate Night on Dec. 3.  They cheered to “Hey, Go Pirates” and entertained the crowd. The boys agreed the crowd was supportive and cheered them on.

“People were not expecting it,” Drops said. “I think the boys add a different level to the performance.”

The boys also participate in other sports. Drops competes in track and field year-round, and Koster is a member of the football and swim teams, but they find time to include themselves in cheer as well. The boys said cheer is a fun sport, and the people they work with make the experience amazing.

According to Cantrell, he never thought he would be doing cheer. He said cheer is a sport that requires strength, flexibility, rhythm and is traditionally a women’s sport. The four boys all agreed the sport is more difficult than what it may seem.

“I just want to enjoy the experience and try something new. I didn’t let the words of other people bring me down,” Griffith said. “Cheer is like any other sport, other than you have to move your hips a little more.”