A new cheer-leader
Published 11:23 am Thursday, September 11, 2014
While cheerleading is disappearing in some communities nowadays, the program is still thriving under the fall in Austin High School.
The Packer cheerleaders can be seen at every Austin football game of the season and they also attend other Austin fall varsity sports to get the crowd going.
This year the team is being lead by a new head coach in Austin grad Billie Jo Wicks, who graduated from AHS and coached the Packer gymnastics team from 2001 to 2004.
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Wicks said cheerleaders still hold a valuable role in making the game day experience for fans and players alike.
“The better experience people have, the more support they’ll have, more people coming to watch the games and the players will play better,” Wicks said. “It always makes me sad when I see a cheerleading program get shut down.”
Wicks said her background as a gymnast has helped her teach the squad to work on some more intense moves. The team practices twice a week in the YMCA to work on bigger stunts.
“Often people don’t think of cheerleaders as athletes, but they lift weights, they do intense training and they do cardio,” Wicks said. “There’s a lot you can carry over [from gymnastics] with jumps, movement and coordination.”