Two, three, four; tell them who we’re for

Melissa Fose

Melissa Fose

You see them at football and basketball games yelling, “Go Jacks!” They wear blue and yellow and run flags at the football game.

The SDSU cheerleading squad fuels the fire in the hearts of Jackrabbit fans at home games.

“[We are] out there giving our full support for our school and showing dedication,” said Tim Bisantz, a junior park and recreation major from St. Charles, Ill. “Being on the field/court, watching the game and expressing our true fanaticism for the home team while having a good time is what it is all about.”

Cheerleading is not all fun and games, though.

“It takes a lot more athleticism than people would acknowledge,” said co-captain Bethany Jordahl, a senior psychology major from Sioux Falls.

She said that being on the team requires a big time commitment. They cheer at all home games from the first football game to the last basketball game, plus practice in between.

“The team is very self-driven, and they come ready to work,” coach Lisa Connot said.

“They make it easy on me because the squads are very positive and always ready to help one another to make the teams become better as a whole.”

The cheerleaders practice twice per week for about two hours. They work on routines as well as learn new moves, dances and stunts. They also lift weights and condition.

“Lifting girls is harder than it seems,” said Bisantz. “I’ll challenge any guy to do what we do; it’s a lot different than a dumbbell.”

Trust is an important factor in the sport.

“Most flyers are always nervous,” said Jordahl, “but never nervous to be hurt.”

Spotting drills are incorporated into practices to prevent injuries and offer extra support with new stunts.

All teammates must learn how to catch a flyer in case something goes wrong. Accidents happen when people are not concentrating on what they are doing, Jordahl said.

“All stunts are completed on timing,” Bisantz said. “Once you get timing down, cheerleading is ? a good time.”

Cheers are based on past traditions in order to keep the crowd involved. The team uses signs to pump up the crowd, as well.

While there are different ways the cheerleading team shows off their ability all are not equal, such as stunts. Most stunts start with the basics and are built up to become more complex. The team has to practice often to hit the stunts correctly.

Team members watch videos on the Internet and attend cheerleading camps to learn new stunts. Jordahl said new stunts usually go well because everyone catches on quickly.

The cheerleaders performed at three Hobo Day events this year: the Jackrabbit bonfire, the Hobo Day parade and the football game.

“It’s nothing like a high school homecoming,” said Jordahl.

#1.882377:1940312076.jpg:Cheerleading.Football.ES.CMYK.jpg:Freshman cheerleader Marisa Skoglund is showing her SDSU spirit by sporting a sticker on her check. The cheerleaders have cheered in three home games this year. :Ethan Swanson