After the Whistle: Minot High cheer team stresses the importance and need for male cheerleaders

After The Whistle

It’s one of the few sports where boys and girls can compete on the same team: cheerleading.

And while it’s no secret it’s a female-dominated sport, one team says there’s a need for more males.

With only a handful of male cheerleaders in North Dakota, the Minot High cheer team is excited to be one of those teams.

“To anybody like thinking about it or thinking about trying out at all, do it! Because it’s a lot of fun once you do,” said Jacob Ternes, cheerleader.

Ternes is the only Magician on this Majettes team.

“I think it’s just a great way to express myself because I’m very, flamboyant? Yeah. I don’t know the word. And I just always loved cheer. But, I did other sports because I, like, admired the cheerleaders,” said Ternes.

“Once I figured out that I could do cheer and that I didn’t have to do those sports to be like, ‘Oh my God. The cheerleaders!’ I was like, ‘I’m going to try out for the cheer team.’ When I got accepted, I was so happy! I just think it’s just great!” he added.

He says he wasn’t sure how the girls would react when he first joined.

“I was excited. ‘Cause I’ve never cheered with a guy before and guys just bring something different to the team. I was just excited to have that chance,” said cheerleader Shay Green.

“We all wish there were more boys! But, we absolutely love him! He’s a great addition to the team. He’s always positive. He’s made friends with almost every single girl on the team,” said Vytalli Klimpel, head coach.

“Everybody’s showed me the greatest, like smiles. They’ve always been super positive,” said Ternes.

They say having him on the team has been great, but it has taken some getting used to.

“He is a freshman this year so he hasn’t developed everything perfectly yet. So, he’s still learning along with the other freshman, too. But, Shay’s really strong and really encouraging and helps him a lot,” said Klimpel.

“It’s a lot different. With his height, it’s kind of difficult but guys just have a different strength than girls do. I don’t know. It’s just different and it’s a lot better. From our flyer, she’s felt a lot safer having her specific bases this year,” said Green.

Ternes: “It does take a lot of muscle because, like, you wouldn’t think it, but sometimes, grabbing that foot, it’s not the easiest!” said Ternes.

“A lot of the stuff that he does is actually different depending on what motions we do. Like, he won’t do the legs for some of the motions, or he won’t turn his hips in certain ways. So, we do have to kind of cater to him and work with him individually as well as a whole,” Klimpel said.

One of the things Ternes says he had to get used to is stretching

“Whenever I started, I was not flexible whatsoever. I could barely get off the ground while doing jumps. But, I think I’ve gotten pretty good and I’m really excited!” said Ternes.

He says his favorite part of cheering is competing, which he had the chance to do when the Magi competed at the state tournament in Fargo in early November.

“I was so nervous at first, whenever I went on stage. I was quaking! But, once we got done with it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. That happened so fast!’ And I loved every bit of it. I thought it was so much fun and I enjoyed watching everybody else cheer,” said Ternes.

The Minot High team is working to break down the stereotypes associated with cheerleading and show others that they do more than just stand on the sideline.

“I think a lot of guys don’t think it’s an actual sport. They don’t see kind of what we do competition-wise. They just see us on the sideline,” Klimpel said.

“It’s not a feminine sport at all! And it is definitely a sport. Especially with competitions and those full-outs, it’s a lot. It’s not boring just standing on the sideline like, ‘Go, Minot!’ It’s more than that!” Green said.

“It’s not just a girls’ sport. It is a sport for everybody. I truly think that if you were to do, you’re going to have a bunch of fun because everything you do, you do as a team. It’s not like you individually. You learn everything as a team, you do everything as a team and it doesn’t matter your sex. It doesn’t matter your, like, sexuality,” said Ternes.

Ternes says he plans on trying out again next year.

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