Cheerleaders are truly the one constant fixture at a high school football game. Fans can turn fickle and stay home, parents have other siblings’ events to attend and some school professionals relish time out of the classroom as far off campus as possible.
Yet cheerleaders stay the course. They arrive in the early hours of dawn and leave in the chills of twilight. They have the same schoolwork load, the same amount of required practices and, arguably, a more dedicated work ethic. In extreme heat, heavy rain, fog or winds off the glacier, win or lose, they proudly stand before, beside and behind the team on every play.
This weekend, seven Thunder Mountain High School cheerleaders and one from Juneau-Douglas will “suit up” for their final home game. They will stretch tired muscles, ignore old injuries, put on their game face, and be responsible for a stadium filled with fans, a field moving with players, and a roaring high school of their peers.
On Friday, Asya Claflin, Megan Clough, Alexa Duran, Kasie Johnston, Alex Kenyon, Dawn Shane and Kaity Wyatt will take the silver, blue and black of TMHS out against the Homer Mariners at Thunder Mountain Field at 6 p.m.
Their coaches compiled these notes:
Claflin has been cheering since second grade and is varsity captain. She has also competed with the Alaska Elite Competition team. She plans to go on to college and become a sociologist.
Clough is a dancer turned cheerleader. This is her first year cheering and she is on the varsity team. She plans to go on to college in the fall.
Duran has been cheering for 6 years and has coached JYFL cheer teams. She is a varsity captain this year.
Johnston has been cheering for 5 years and has been on varsity all through high school. She plans to become a criminologist.
Kenyon has cheered for 2 years and loves it. Kenyon plans to go to college in Utah in the fall.
Shane is in her second year cheering. She is extremely proud to have made varsity this year.
Wyatt has been cheering for football since third-grade and has been varsity captain every year of the Falcon Football Cheer Squad’s existence. She competes with the Alaska Elite Competition team as well as coaching the Floyd Dryden basketball cheer team. She plans to go to college and become an ultrasound technician.
For JDHS, Chelsea Foss Kilgore will lead her red and black cheer squad out against the East Anchorage Thunderbirds at Adair-Kennedy Field on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Coach Carlen Nore stated, “I’ve had the pleasure to coach Chelsea for the past eight years, from a JYFL Cowboy to a Crimson Bear. She’s always been very dedicated, responsible and full of school spirit. She’s a true leader and leads by example — as a student, as a cheerleader and as a young woman. She’s the kind of athlete all coaches love to have on their team. She’ll truly be missed as she graduates and starts her next journey in life. We wish her the very best!”