By: Autumn West

Throwing teammates, yelling and getting audiences hyped up is a big part of what it means to be a cheerleader. However, to captain Arika Ziegler and flyer Sydney Cobb, cheer is more than that.

Ziegler, along the rest of the Griffon Cheer Squad, practice twice a week, but during homecoming week, they practice three times a week. The squad works hard to perfect their cheers and stunts by game
day every week.

Cobb has been cheerleading since she was six years old. In high school, Cobb didn’t think she would continue doing cheer in college, because she was uncertain if she would be able to juggle school and cheer. But as graduation rolled around, she realized cheer was such a big part of her life and she wouldn’t be able to avoid it in college.

“A big part of cheer is game days, which are really fun, but my favorite part is the homecoming routine that we have every year,” Cobb said.

Between practice, game days, school and work, the cheer squad still finds the time to bond. Every summer, the squad goes to a Royals game, and this summer, they worked at a Kenny Chesney concert.

While the squad works hard to hype up the fans, the fans hype up not only the football players but also the cheerleaders.

Ziegler talked to parents who have attended football games specifically so that their kids could watch the cheerleaders.

“It does make me feel pretty good when a little girl runs up and says, ‘Oh my gosh, I love you! I want to be like you,’” Ziegler said.

The Griffon cheerleaders work hard to balance school, work and cheer, but since the sport means so much to them, it’s worth it.