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We got spirit

A group of seniors interested in starting a yell-leading program hope to work alongside spirit leaders and cheerleaders to increase school pride at athletic events.

Senior+Zac+Oakes+cheers+on+the+varsity+volleyball+team+during+their+Senior+Night+match+Oct.+16.+%22My+favorite+part+about+going+to+games+is+I+just+want+to+win%2C%22+Oakes+said.+%22Anyway+I+can+help+us+win%2C+I+will.%22
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We got spirit

Senior Zac Oakes cheers on the varsity volleyball team during their Senior Night match Oct. 16.

Senior Zac Oakes cheers on the varsity volleyball team during their Senior Night match Oct. 16. "My favorite part about going to games is I just want to win," Oakes said. "Anyway I can help us win, I will."

Madi Allen

Senior Zac Oakes cheers on the varsity volleyball team during their Senior Night match Oct. 16. "My favorite part about going to games is I just want to win," Oakes said. "Anyway I can help us win, I will."

Madi Allen

Madi Allen

Senior Zac Oakes cheers on the varsity volleyball team during their Senior Night match Oct. 16. "My favorite part about going to games is I just want to win," Oakes said. "Anyway I can help us win, I will."

Ellie Druten, Writer

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Cheerleading at Northwest, with the exception of the first years when the school opened, has been a girls-only sport. However, this could soon change due to senior Cooper Bredehoeft. Bredehoeft is currently working to restart the yell-leading program, with cheerleading coach Megan Geenens as the sponsor.

“What inspired me to start a yell leading program was when I was talking to Geenens about the potential to have one,” Bredehoeft said. “At first it didn’t seem very realistic but the more we talked and the more guys I started to recruit, the more I wanted to do it.”

If everything goes as planned, Bredehoeft will have tryouts after Thanksgiving break. He said it will become more of a reality once he gets enough boys interested. Since it is a new program, the potential members are not required to know how to stunt, meaning they do not have to know how to support a flyer.

“You don’t have to stunt to be on the yell team, but we want people who will be able to stunt by themselves eventually,” Bredehoeft said. “But we can’t make that a requirement because not many people know how to do that…you really just have to have a lot of school spirit and want to do it seriously.”

For the yell-leading program, Bredehoeft plans on attending cheerleading practice with the girls after school twice a week. Although nothing is official, he plans on having the team wear a uniform and carry megaphones at the basketball games. Geenens will have the yell-leaders be a part of the cheer team, so they will cheer and stunt at games. The yell-leading team will also be part of the Sweetheart Assembly routine.

“If it does go successfully and is a lot of fun and people do enjoy it, then I will for sure look at recruiting people who will be able to lead it next year,” Bredehoeft said. “It would be really cool if I could come back in a few years and it is actually a legitimate thing; if that happens every year that would be pretty awesome.”

One of Bredehoeft’s main goals is to increase school spirit, which is also a goal for the spirit leaders. Geenens said the spirit leaders are in charge of picking the theme and deciding what cheers to yell and when.

“I do [think it helps to assign spirit leaders] because we are able to sit down with them all and have a conversation,” Geenens said.

At their meeting, Geenens and the spirit leaders discussed what they need to be doing during games, holding them more accountable for yelling appropriate chants.

Senior Sam Hartman is one of the 15 senior spirit leaders. Hartman said one of their main goals is to include underclassman and get them more involved. Geenens agreed that they need to work on getting all of the classes involved, not just the seniors.

Hartman said since the underclassmen sit higher up on the bleachers at games, the spirit leaders struggle with including them in the chants.

Senior Zac Oakes tries to get the underclassmen, especially freshmen, involved.

“If I am not involved in leading chants then I yell obnoxiously loud,” Oakes said. “One time I went up and sat with the freshmen, and was obnoxiously loud with them and got them all fired up.”

Oakes is also interested in becoming a yell-leader. He is very involved at games and hopes he can transition that to yell-leading.

According to Oakes, the yell-leaders should fire up the crowd, as well as keep up the intensity of the game at all times, whether the teams are winning or losing. Bredehoeft also hopes people enjoy yell-leading and said it is a way to get more students involved in school spirit.

Bredehoeft’s short-term goals for the program include having around five guys try out and seeing the end result. Long term, Bredehoeft said he hopes this program continues even after he graduates.

Oakes said school spirit is very important and a big part of Northwest culture.

“I love the intensity of some of those games,” Oakes said. “I hope we can continue the intensity  throughout the winter and spring.”

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