Cheerleading in North Dakota is alive and well at the high school level, but college opportunities are fewer. Dickinson High cheerleading coach Cebe Schneider wanted to change that.
“We were graduating some really amazing athletes, and I know other schools are too, and there was no place for them to go,” Schneider said. “So we maybe had kids who would’ve liked to spend a year or two at our university.”
DSU administration was more than willing to create a program officially in the athletic department, so Schneider and those graduating Dickinson High alumni got to work building a team from scratch.
“We had about seven or eight cheerleaders, dancers and spirit squad members altogether in the first season,” freshman Kierra Schneider said.
The program is now in year two, and it’s growing.
“I think we’ve come pretty far just looking at our numbers. We’ve already doubled ourselves with the people coming out here,” cheerleader Gabrielle Millsap said.
“It’s fun building things and being a part of something that’s going to grow and be something really great, especially when you have people who are on your side,” Kierra Schneider said.
As fun as it is, it also takes plenty of hard work.
“You really do have to be athletic,” Millsap said. “A majority of things we do is stunting and routines, which you need muscles and muscle memory to do and perform in the correct fashion.”
And above all else, it takes heart.
“Because you’re not getting the glory. Your entire purpose is to glorify other athletes,” Schneider said. “So all the cool stuff you can do is to be the exclamation point of the cool thing the athletes on the field just did.
“These kids have done so much to make this program be brought to the level of where it is because of their character.”
Schneider says the plan is to have the team built up enough by next year to compete in official collegiate competitions.