The High School Dream: Wayland’s Cheer Squad


Credit: Credit: Courtesy of WSPN

The Wayland Cheer team shows off their skills during half time. Junior Maddie Greene is held up by her teammates to perform a stunt.

Caterina Tomassini and Allie Nunn

Heads down, lights on, and a roaring crowd in front of you: You flip your hair up, pom-poms in hand, and the football field explodes with ear-piercing excitement. All of your stored up energy  from the day bursts from your body as you and your team deliver an incredible performance. This is the high school dream. 

Unlike many schools, Wayland High School cheerleading lacks in numbers, with only ten girls on the team. With such minimal numbers on the squad, the team longs for more participants.

“I think having a bigger team would be nice because cheer is fun,” junior captain Maddie Greene said. “I think [cheer] would be more enjoyable if we had a bigger team so that we can meet new people and have a good time.”

Not only could a larger team create a great experience, but it could also impress an excited crowd.

“I think people see a small team and automatically think less [of it],” coach Kristen Saia said. “I think having a larger team is more impressive to the general bystander.” 

Saia has well over a decade of coaching experience in her back pocket, making her highly adaptive to different team dynamics. In 2005, Saia coached cheer at Watertown High School. From there, she co-coached at Lasell College, then at Waltham High School. Six years ago, she began her coaching career at Wayland.

After working in school systems where the cheer team is gifted with well over forty athletes, Saia also sees the advantages in working with a small team. 

“I think it’s beneficial to have a small team because each girl or stunt group gets more personalized attention,” Saia said. “This year, the team morale is really good and I think having a small team plays a huge part in that.”

Despite the attention the girls receive from Saia, the team is still eager to attract more eyes to the sport in hopes of creating more complex stunts, and most importantly, participating in the annual pep-rally. 

“We don’t get enough recognition,” junior cheerleader Annabelle Cummings said. “We work hard, but if you don’t have the numbers and the support, how far can you really go?”

Cummings emphasizes the importance of support, and ponders the possibility of participation from girls who cheer for all-star teams, or in highly competitive and selective environments outside of school. 

“If Rocket cheerleaders joined, the team would be taken more seriously and it would be more respected,” Cummings said. “The skill level is different, but they could bring a lot to the team.”

Junior captain Zoe Sodickson suggests that Rocket cheer avoids the team out of social fears.

“I think cheer isn’t really seen as a sport, so a lot of people don’t want to join for social reasons,” Sodickson said. “I assume that’s why most Rocket cheerleaders don’t join.” 

With all-star cheer growing as a sport throughout many age groups, it can take away from the glam that high school cheer provides. 

“I think the girls that cheer for all-stars crave the competition aspect of cheer,” Saia said. “I was part of the all-star scene for a good amount of time, so I totally get it.”

Sodickson wants nothing more than for the team to be taken seriously. However, the only way that this goal can be accomplished, is if people take a chance, and join the team. 

“Personally, I don’t really get [why athletes don’t join] because if we got better as a team and won competitions, then we’d obviously be more respected as a sport,” Sodickson said. “The only way for that to happen is if more people join. It’s a cycle that needs to be broken.”

After all, nothing can compete with the shining lights, shouting crowds, big bows and sparkly uniforms that high school cheerleading provides. 

There is nothing like cheering for your school during Friday night games,” Saia said.