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New Kid on the Squad

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Sophomore Nick Norris has been doing dance for as long as he can remember so when searching for a fall sport, cheer seemed like the most logical fit. Norris is currently the only male on the varsity cheer team.

Since he was little, Norris’s mom encouraged him to try everything, Norris took part in a lot of different sports ranging from flag football to baseball. Norris took his first tap dancing class at Dean/Black and has been dancing since. Soon after he began dancing hip hop, jazz and ballet as well as taking gymnastics classes.

Norris says his dance background has really helped in his cheer career, so when going into the tryouts, the stunts were not a huge leap.

“I went into it [tryouts] without any expectations because I was so unprepared, I really just winged it honestly,” Norris said. “Everyone looked at me like ‘Are you in the right place?’”

Norris did not expect to have to learn so many cheers, but he feels like he is able to do everything that has been put in front of him–something Cheer Coach Jennifer Hallman would be quick to agree with.

“He’s got that strong personality where he won’t let anyone push him around,” Hallman said.

Hallman believes that Norris has brought positivity to the cheer team, and a great amount of credibility in a sense. Hallman had previously had Norris in a dance class at the Community Center.

While Norris is the first male that Hallman has coached, he is not the first male cheerleader to come through Midland High. In high school, Coach William Luzar was a male cheerleader. Luzar joined with his group of seven or eight football players their junior year when asked by the female cheerleaders to act as the bases of the stunt group.

Luzar said, “they didn’t make fun of us because they were jealous, we were holding up beautiful girls.”

When starting, Norris was worried about the stigma associated with male cheerleaders but found he fit in quite well with the team and that others were very accepting of this. Norris explained that after it was revealed that he made varsity, there were other guys in the school who showed interest in trying out for the sport.

Both Luzar and Norris agree that more males should get involved with the sport.

Norris plans to continue fall cheer throughout the rest of his high school career, hoping to draw in more male participation along the way.

“I hope that me doing this makes it obvious that it’s not an all girl thing. I hope to see next year another guy try out because it would be cool if I could be an influence.” Norris said.

Written by Ellie Jensen and Jonah Dykhuizen

As appearing in the September 30, 2016 issue of FOCUS

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