Cheerleaders and dancers lead Iowa State


Photo: Randi Reeder/Iowa State Daily

The ISU cheerleaders wave the flags after a touchdown at the first football game of the season. Iowa State defeated Tulsa 38-23 on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Jack Trice Stadium.

Isaac Hunt

Cheerleaders are a staple in many major sporting events around the United States from the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders to the Laker Girls to the game-day atmosphere of college football.

The ISU dance and cheer squads are no different. Along with Cy and the marching band, they lead the crowd in a variety of cheers.

“My job as a cheer team member is to represent Iowa State everywhere I go,” said cheerleader Miranda Doss. “Whether it’s cheering on the Cyclones to another victory, going to various appearances or sitting in class, we have to be aware of our actions no matter where we are.

“I take pride in knowing that I’m one of the faces of the cheer team that represents our school.”

Apart from pride, there are other benefits to being part of the ISU cheer squad.

“They have the opportunity to be letterwinners,” said cheer coach Kelli Baker. “That starts their second year on the squad. They have the opportunity to receive a stipend [scholarship] that also starts their second year, and it is up to $1,000.”

Keeping up sportsmanship is a tough thing to do with the college crowd, but the cheerleaders do their best to keep things peaceful.

“Basically we try to promote [good sportsmanship in a way] where if the [fans] are doing a cheer that isn’t sportsmanlike, then we either don’t participate in it, or we try to start a cheer that is very different from that,” Baker said.

Baker went on to say it is usually a lost cause, and the cheerleaders do not participate in inappropriate cheers.

Cheer and Dance

Everyone who has attended an ISU football game has seen the cheerleaders and the other “cheerleaders” who dress differently. But there are many differences between the dance team and cheer team.

“Dance and cheer are two completely different sports,” Doss said. “But the main difference, in short, is that we stunt and tumble.”

Stephanie Leeds, a captain of the dance team, said they cheer along with the cheerleaders and help pump up the crowd. There are moves the dance team performs to differentiate themselves.

“The dance team is kind of all of the technical dance stuff,” Baker said. “They do the pom, the hip-hop and the jazz. Cheer squad does very minimal dance and does a lot of stunting and tumbling.”

But no matter what team they are a part of, they all consider themselves a part of Cyclone Nation.

“The thing that keeps me pumped to be on the dance team is Cyclone Nation,” Leeds said. “Nothing is more rewarding than being able to cheer on the sidelines at Jack Trice or dance on the court at Hilton and hear the mass of fans yelling and shouting at the exciting play that just happened.”

Time management is something the teams have to learn to deal with. Just like members of the football team, the dancers and cheerleaders have to perform every weekend and practice.

“There are plenty of difficulties to the job, but there are with any job,” Doss said. “The main difficulty to me is time management. If you as a cheerleader or dancer don’t have good time management, you will not be able to perform well as a teammate and student.”

But the good definitely outweighs the bad. And the ISU cheer squad will continue as a proud tradition alongside college athletics.