Cheer tryouts being held after girls suddenly quit


Ali Parkhurst

Flyer made by Junior Ali Parkhurst to promote the upcoming tryouts for the winter season.

Ali Parkhurst, Reporter

Within the past few weeks, almost half of the Wahawk basketball cheerleaders have decided to leave the team due to various reasons including disagreements between teammates and coaches. Coaches Karen Utterback, Allison Jones and the remaining cheerleaders are hoping to gain back a strong team to fill in the gaps for the upcoming 2022-23 basketball season by hosting another set of tryouts for the winter season. With the girls basketball team being placed in the ESPN’s top 25 schools in the nation, the basketball programs are looking for supportive cheerleaders to cheer them all the way to state again this year. 

Among the remaining cheerleaders is Senior Dalanie Kresser. Kresser is a four year cheerleader who has dedicated her entire high school career to cheering on the football and basketball teams.  “I feel like it is a great experience, it’s always fun to have more girls on the team,” she said.

Kresser hopes to have a successful final season before she graduates and leaves the cheer program at West. She encourages anyone and everyone to attend tryouts and get the chance to experience the team she has known and loved for four years, “Just do it, it doesn’t hurt to try out. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to fully commit to the team.” she says. 

Alongside the remaining cheerleaders is Ally Knight, a Junior cheerleader for football and wrestling. With the events of the past few weeks, Knight, among other wrestling cheerleaders, have found themselves cheering for both wrestling and basketball. “I have more on my plate and a lot less time to do other things,” Knight said. 

With the entire team going through this change, Knight says “Hopefully we can encourage more people to try out and expand out basketball cheerleaders. I hope we get new people to come out.” Knight hopes that the past few weeks have not scared any future cheerleaders away and hopes everyone takes the opportunity to join the cheer team.

Leah Schares, Lizetth Aldurazi, Dalanie Kresser, Ava Anderson, Kavi Sisk, and Kamari Draine at the the girls basketball State Championship game where the Wahawks were named 5A runners up.

Former cheerleader Ava Anderson said that the cheerleaders holding a second set of tryouts doesn’t bother her, “I feel that if that is what Coach Utterback feels is best to improve her program after 8 cheerleaders, including myself, quit, then all is good and I hope she can fill the gap” Anderson was a three year varsity cheerleader when she quit the team. 

Anderson said that if she could go back to the beginning of her cheerleading career, “I wouldn’t change any of my decisions when it comes to cheerleading. Joining the team was a decision I made for myself and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my high school years, but leaving was a good decision for me as well. I did this for me and I have no regrets about that.”

Having quit her senior year, Anderson feels that she has not lost any opportunities with the team. “I got the whole cheer experience; I cheered at football playoffs, cheered at state, made varsity my first year and continued to maintain that status throughout my 3 years cheering, cheered for Iowa Honor Squad, and was the team captain,” she said. Anderson said that her decision has not negatively impacted her but instead has positively benefited her.

Basketball cheer tryouts will be held the week after Thanksgiving. Practice will be November 30th from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. where returning cheerleaders will help teach the required cheers for tryouts. Tryouts will be held on December 1st at 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Both the practice and tryouts will be held in the commons. For more information, contact one of the current cheerleaders or the coaches. Coaches can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected].