The Winonan

Warrior Youth Cheer Camp takes the field

Cheerleader+Morgan+Anderson+cheers+along+side+campers+from+the+annual+Warrior+Youth+Cheer+Camp+at+Saturday%2C+Sept.+17%E2%80%99s+football+game.+The+camp+taught+its+65+participants+different+moves+and+lifts+earlier+in+the+day+in+McCown+Gymnasium.+Warrior+Youth+Cheer+Camp+is+offered+to+all+children%2C+kindergarten+through+eighth+grade.
Cheerleader Morgan Anderson cheers along side campers from the annual Warrior Youth Cheer Camp at Saturday, Sept. 17’s football game. The camp taught its 65 participants different moves and lifts earlier in the day in McCown Gymnasium. Warrior Youth Cheer Camp is offered to all children, kindergarten through eighth grade.

Cheerleader Morgan Anderson cheers along side campers from the annual Warrior Youth Cheer Camp at Saturday, Sept. 17’s football game. The camp taught its 65 participants different moves and lifts earlier in the day in McCown Gymnasium. Warrior Youth Cheer Camp is offered to all children, kindergarten through eighth grade.

Nicole Girgen

Nicole Girgen

Cheerleader Morgan Anderson cheers along side campers from the annual Warrior Youth Cheer Camp at Saturday, Sept. 17’s football game. The camp taught its 65 participants different moves and lifts earlier in the day in McCown Gymnasium. Warrior Youth Cheer Camp is offered to all children, kindergarten through eighth grade.

Danny Moriarty, Sports Reporter

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Game watchers were given a treat at Winona State University’s football game on Saturday, Sept. 16. During the halftime performance, attendees had the opportunity to watch a cheerleading performance put on by the 2017 Warrior Youth Cheer Camp.

At the day-long camp, campers in grades K-8 were given the opportunity to train and learn new routines with the Winona State cheerleaders, performing the routine at the football game after a lengthy day full of practice. The camp cost $25 per person, money that went straight back into the Warrior cheerleading funds.

“Cheerleading takes enthusiasm, drive and the right attitude,” senior cheerleader Christie Henderson said. “Seeing all the kids go out on the field and perform like they did, it was so special to be a part of it.”

Nicole Girgen
Winona State University cheerleaders give a younger camper a boost during Saturday’s football game at the Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium. The Warrior Youth Cheer campers performed a half-time routine with the Warrior cheer team.

Henderson was one of the Warrior cheerleaders who hosted the Warrior Youth Cheer Camp on Saturday. The cheerleading team taught traditional Warrior cheers, stunts and techniques to the campers. All the hard work was in preparation for their performance at the football game versus Minnesota State University Moorhead later that day.

“We got so much great feedback and such an awesome response from the crowd when they came out, it was really something special to see,” junior Captain Rachel Wamboldt said. “They were all very nervous at first. For some of them it was their first time cheering, and your first time out on that field is very intimidating. Once they all settled in, it was so fun to watch.”

A typical day at the Warrior Youth Cheer Camp started out with the campers being dropped off at 8:45 a.m. by their parents, and then sent to the gym. Once in the gym, they were then sorted into groups. They were given flyers, bases and spotters, as well as official Winona State cheerleading t-shirts and pom-poms.

Nicole Girgen
Winona State University cheerleaders hold up a camper at Saturday’s football half-time performance. The annual Warrior Youth Cheer Camp housed 65 participants this year, teaching them about cheerleading along with moves and lifts.

Throughout the day, the campers were taught different dances and techniques to add to their repertoire for the football game. From back handsprings to overall flexibility, the Warrior cheerleaders tried to incorporate as many moves and stunts as they could in a one-day session.

“They have to learn how to trust each other,” Henderson said. “There is a lot of skill and execution to be done in a routine and having a basic trust with your teammates is crucial into learning how to be a great cheerleader.”

Henderson attended the cheer camp when she was younger, and added how being part of a cheer camp had impacted her life.

“I did not return to cheer until my senior year of high school,” Henderson said. “But being a part of camps and teams when I was in elementary school for sure inspired me to come back.”

Nicole Girgen
Members of the Warrior Youth Cheer Camp and the Winona State Univerisy cheer team wait on the sidelines at Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium. The campers performed a half-time routine at Saturday’s football game along side the Warrior’s cheer team.

As the day progressed and the performance approached, the camp increased in energy. The campers were almost ready to show what they could do.

After a quick lunch from Jimmy Johns, it was time to perform. The crowd was already loud and energetic. It didn’t hurt that the Winona State football team is yet undefeated this season, which encouraged the crowd to become more involved in cheering for the game.

“Having a successful team definitely helps us connect with the crowd more. Nobody enjoys a losing season, so seeing our team be as successful as they are this year is really exciting,” Wamboldt said.

At halftime, the Warriors were up 28-0 when the campers stormed the field. The air was taut with energy, the crowd responding to the performance with heavy applause and cheers. The music was blaring, and you could see and hear the emotion and excitement the routine evoked in the noisy crowd.

The routine included a few pyramids, flips and other stunts they had learned that day. After the routine, the second half of the game commenced. The Warrior football team ended up winning the game 42-14.

“They only had a few hours to learn a routine and what they showed out there blew me away,” Henderson said. “I was so impressed with our flyers and spotters, the crowd was so amazing as well.”

As the campers departed the field, there wasn’t an unhappy face. The crowd spilled out of the stadium having witnessed the possible beginnings of a life-long love of cheerleading. The event helps Wamboldt remember the reason she became a cheerleader in the first place.

“Inspiring others and having the patience and persistence to have a great positive attitude all game is why I became a cheerleader,” Wamboldt said. “I remember being a part of the atmosphere for the first time, and I love seeing the campers’ reactions to being out on the field.”

Nicole Girgen
Two campers are hoisted into a lift by members of the Winona State University cheer team during the half-time routine performed by both campers and cheerleaders. The performance took place at Saturday, Sept. 17’s football game at Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium.

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Warrior Youth Cheer Camp takes the field