Something to cheer about


Bryson Felton

The cheer squad performing before fans at a recent home football game.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, fifteen females are up and at ‘em before the sun rises to start their day with a little more pep than the average high schooler. Thanks to the cheerleaders, there is an unwavering force of school spirit in Cannon Falls. Like her predecessors, new coach Morgan Schwarz would like to see the cheer program be a source of positive spirit in the Cannon Falls community.

Schwarz was excited to become involved here at CF with an element of cheerleading with which she has been quite familiar – stunting. The routines that include stunts have become a favorite part of cheer for some of the girls. This year’s squad was able to form three stunt groups, each having a flier, a spot, and two bases. In the years to come, Schwarz hopes to expand her squad even more.

Pushing the squad to continue to have a positive presence in the school has been extremely important to Schwarz. The girls have enjoyed becoming involved with the Homecoming activities. They brought some wonderful pep to both the Monday and Friday pep fests and even made a few appearances during the talent show. Leading up to the big game, the girls were most pumped about the show they were going to put on during halftime. They had been excited for this since the beginning of the season when they first heard they were going to be performing a dance number for homecoming. 

Years ago, dancing was a big part of cheer for Cannon Falls High School. Under former high school teacher Anne Schwede’s coaching, cheer began small and grew, as many of the dancers joined to fill their time during the fall sports season. Prior to Schwede’s decade of coaching, Cannon Falls cheerleaders participated in competition cheer. Because competitive cheer fostered such a large time commitment, it didn’t draw as many participants. Instead, the squad just performed during sports games and it has been that way since then. With the squad being infused with dancers, cheerleading had the opportunity to incorporate skills from dance into cheer, Schwede said, “we had one of those great big boom boxes and so we played loud music at the games and did routines to the more popular music of the time.” Back then, they also had routines to the pep band songs. Schwarz has snuck in bits of dancing to add flavor to her squad. 

In 2008, Heidi Zimmerman became the Cannon Falls cheer coach. When she took over for Anne Schwede, the girls had been cheering for football in the fall and wrestling in the winter. Due to overwhelming popularity of the cheer team’s efforts, Zimmerman had added more sports to the girls’ agenda, including volleyball, boys basketball, and girls basketball. Over time, many cheerleaders opted to become multi-sport athletes, rather than committing to cheer for two sports seasons, causing a shortage of cheerleaders in the winter and eventually the loss of a winter team. Hoping to bring the winter team back, Schwarz and her squad has begun thinking of what sport they would cheer for, “I’ve heard a lot about wrestling at this point. If we did do basketball, we’d also cheer for girls as well so then we’d have the co-ed thing,” she explained. As of right now, the cheerleaders only cheer for the Bomber football team, something Schwarz is eager to expand upon. Cheering for more sports would be another big step for the squad.

Throughout this season and future seasons, Coach Schwarz wishes to paint a spirited picture of Cannon Falls cheer. Schwarz shows gratitude for the coaches before her, “Without Schwede and Heidi, I would be starting from ground zero. I’m very thankful these twos ladies have been so helpful and willing to answer all of my questions. Even though I’m the coach, it’s still a team effort, and that’s what makes this program strive.” With a great attitude, the cheerleaders are showing all kinds of spirit and are interacting with their fans. Bearing so many new, inexperienced  members, the cheer squad has already made lots of progress. Their effort began this summer when six cheerleaders, some new and some returning, attended a camp in Iowa where they learned new routines and skills. Watching the program has been inspiring for students and the school can’t wait to see what other kinds of pep they can bring this winter. Not even bitter cold, early morning practices can wipe the spirit from the Cannon Falls cheerleaders.

*The Lantern has re-posted the article allowing the author to provide additional information and context.