Male Cheerleaders Become an Overnight Sensation

“Everybody was in the locker room together getting ready for the game. I, as a player and cheerleading coach, was running around like a maniac. I was helping the boys with some last-minute stunts then running upstairs to tell my team the starting line-up. I then remembered I needed to run back down to help the cheerleaders,” said Alexis Noel, one of the game’s organizers.

The Interact clubs of Greater Latrobe and Ligonier hosted a traditional interclub reverse basketball game at Greater Latrobe High School on Friday, April 1 to raise money for St. Jude’s Research Hospital.
Ligonier girls took home the basketball win with a final score of 41 to 8, but Latrobe also took home a victory that night: best half-time performance.

“We used to do [the reverse basketball game] every year before COVID and it always brought in a lot of people since Ligonier is really close by. There’s always been that rivalry between [us and Ligonier]. It’s fun for alumni, too, to be able to come back and cheer on their team and see teachers; to interact with the community they grew up in,” said Leah Mazur, Interact club’s treasurer.

That friendly rivalry sure did make an impact this year. The schools raised over $2,000 to be donated to Saint Jude’s Children Research Hospital.

Planning the event took both school’s Interact clubs coming together to create a success. Junior Alexis Noel explained her role as an organizer. “We did a majority of the organizing in just two weeks. We mapped out everything. We had a bunch of meetings with Ligonier Interact club to figure out what we wanted this event to look like,” she said. Even though Alexis is not a member of Interact, she was really enthusiastic about helping make this game come into fruition.
Alexis’s main goal; setting the male cheerleaders up for success.

She explained the amount of work that went into teaching the volunteer male cheerleaders. “We only had the first part of the dance done by the first practice, so we taught the cheerleaders, and then recorded them so they could watch themselves and see how they needed to improve. The second night we stayed after until 8:30 p.m. to finish the dance. We actually scheduled one more practice the night before the game to actualize the final routine,” she said.

Quickly the gym, where every Latrobe student had participated in a physical education course, had grown into a thrilling atmosphere. As the janitor turned his key to draw out the bleachers for the fan sections, the female basketball teams got to work warming up and the cheerleaders practiced stunting one last time before their big performance. Fans started to slowly pack the gym until the space had become crowded. The school’s student section- the den- was packed full of the player’s peers coming out to support them.

The male cheerleaders made a lasting impression on the audience. The boys quickly learned cheerleading was much harder than their female counterparts made it out to be. “At the beginning, it was a little different for us cheerleaders because we’ve of course never cheered before. After we got into it- we got the pom poms out- we really started to get the crowd going,” explained senior Ben Hamaty.

The game-like environment was elevated even further by the cheerleaders ability to pump up the crowd. Dressed in the traditional cheerleading uniforms normally worn by the girls high school team, the boys were the main event of the night.

Ben said, “It was all leading up to our big half-time performance. It may not have gone too well for the lady wildcats, but we found plenty of opportunities to cheer the girls on.” Ben was proud of the work that his team put into the routine.

“The half-time show was awesome. We rehearsed for about a week and at first, it was not going too well for me. I didn’t know how to do a lot of the cheers. The dance was really fast, so I had a lot of stuff I needed to learn. There was a lot of craziness going on in my mind. Then comes day two or three and I started to take it a lot more seriously to try to make a good showing for the dance. I think it turned out really well and it was even featured on The Wildcat Network’s social media which was really cool. I got to see everyone sharing our dance,” he said.

The three-minute long dance extracted quite a commotion from the audience. The parents, siblings, teachers and classmates of the boys were all laughing, screaming, and cheering them on.

Alexis said, “After [the boys] finished their half-time routine, I spoke with the team and they were just so excited. They knew they did really well. I was very proud of them. It was a proud coach moment.”

She continued, “At the end of the game, when they were announcing who won the half-time performance, both Ligonier’s teams and Latrobe’s teams were all huddled around the judges table eagerly awaiting the results. When they announced Latrobe won, everyone was screaming. We were all jumping around and got in a big huddle.”

To check out the boys half-time routine, visit the following link!