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Giving Student Athletes Options; Competitive Cheerleading Added at Mercy

by cnewman

Alyssa Derwin, Genny Browne, Lauren Siminski, Ashton Corp and Morgan Reid are part of the competitive cheerleading, and lacrosse team. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes
Alyssa Derwin, Genny Browne, Lauren Siminski, Ashton Corp and Morgan Reid are part of the competitive cheerleading, and lacrosse team. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes

Choosing the right Catholic high school is like choosing a college these days.

Parents and their children are always looking for the right fit both academically, socially and athletically.

The more options a school has the better the chance he or she will attend. Mount Mercy Academy has been giving their students a plethora of options since opening its doors more than 100 years ago

If it's chess club or debate, Mount Mercy has it for you. If sports is what you are into, then Mount Mercy offers a state champion basketball team and soccer and softball teams that routinely play for Monsignor Martin Athletic Association titles.

This year, Mount Mercy added competitive cheerleading to its list. In it's first year, the students get to cheer at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School sporting events. Started in December, the squad hopes to add competitions to its schedule when the time comes.

"Mrs. Staszak's daughter used to be a cheerleader," stated Genny Browne. "So she thought it would be a good idea for girls who aren't into all of these other sports, like basketball and soccer, who still wanted to be active and physical."

The physical part of the sport is something that can easily take a toll on the body. While it may not be physical the same way as basketball, soccer or lacrosse, cheerleading still has a high risk for injury.

In fact, five of the Mount Mercy cheerleaders also play lacrosse for the school. They say the physical demands of cheerleading has helped them get ready for the lacrosse season.

"Lots of conditioning," stated Ashton Corp. "It's a two-minute and thirty second routine, and it may not seem that long, but there is a lot of flipping, dancing and moving. So, there is a lot of conditioning."

Added Morgan Reid: "You need to be strong to lift up the girls and do the flips. It's not an easy thing to do."

Participating in one or more things at Mount Mercy is hard enough. Addin cheerleading, lacrosse and your academic workload and you have to be a dedicated young woman.

You also have to love what you do. And all these young ladies love all the aspects that cheerleading brings.

"It's something that people take a lot of time in doing," stated Reid. "We put a lot of energy into something that we all love to do. We dedicate a lot of our time to it."

Dedicating all the time and effort into something that is a labor of love also brings you closer together. For the squad, being a close nit family is important, especially when it comes to the routines they do.

"It just can't be one person," said Browne. "You all have to work together. You are one big team, but you have to work with each individual to make sure it works like how it is supposed to."

The teamwork in cheerleading also helps on the lacrosse field, just in a different way. You take the field as a team, but it's the individual at times that makes the team successful.

"It's one big team, but each individual has their own position," said Corp. "It's different, but it's similar."

Added Reid: "Instead of scoring goals [in lacrosse], you score points [in cheerleading]. "You're still giving something back from what you put in."

With the school year rapidly coming to a close, the squad is looking to get some competitions in to prove themselves against some of the best.

"We are looking for competitions in the next few weeks," stated Corp. "It's just a matter of getting everything together. As far as who we compete against we don't know."

What they do know is they are earning the respect of others in the school and in the community for what they do, and that's all that counts.

"Mount Mercy has positively changed my life forever. Through the inviting community, I was able to grow as a woman, as a daughter, as a friend, and as a member of society. Throughout my time here I have gained an education in both academic areas and life in general through the school's ongoing efforts to educate students on gender inequality, racial injustice, and environmental crisis'. Furthermore, Mercy has given me the space to gain confidence that 4 years ago I never would have guessed I would have. Mount Mercy has helped me take that initial step toward becoming the strong woman of color I am today. At Mercy you are more than just a student, you are whoever you wish to be."

Melina Courtney

Class of 2022

"My future, success, and the ability to be an empowered woman in society come from Mount Mercy. My school is a strong foundation for my role in life. From attending Mount Mercy, I can say with confidence, that I will graduate with the mindset that I can accomplish anything. Mercy is my home and my sanctuary to be whoever I want. Mount Mercy has been bringing forth generations of strong intellectual women into the world, and I am more than honored to be one of them. Mercy teaches girls more than academics, but also about the world around us. As a mercy community, we give back to the world because it is our home. From my four years at Mercy, I have been educated on pushing for equality and peace and the understanding that there is no limit to what I can do. I have the confidence to go out in the world and make a difference because being a Mercy girl has given me that opportunity. "

Cassidy Reid

Class of 2022

"Mercy is more than just a school. Mercy is my second home and a shoulder to lean on. Mount Mercy has given me the confidence and resources to pursue my passions and make the world a more inclusive place, propelling me to take strides into male-dominated fields. Mercy blessed me with an environment to grow intellectually and in the community, giving me the foundation to make a tangible impact while making lifelong friendships."

Adrianna Awald

Class of 2022

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