2019 Shenandoah football cheerleading

The 2019 Shenandoah football cheerleading squad poses for a picture after the homecoming game win. Front row, from left: Ciara Schierkolk, Katie Morris and Jaiden Egbert. Back row, from left: Ava Godfread, Kayla Shelton, Amy Nielsen (coach), Jersey Fahey and Gage Reed. Not pictured: Tyler Freed.

Photo courtesy Amy Nielsen

Shenandoah High School students wanting to be cheerleaders for the 2020-2021 school year will have more than a week to perfect their routine ahead of a virtual tryout.

The football, basketball and wrestling cheerleading squads usually have in-person tryouts in the spring to select the squads for the following school year. With in-person school and sports not happening this spring, an in-person tryout wasn’t possible either, according to football cheer sponsor Amy Nielsen.

“We looked at what other school districts were doing,” Nielsen said. “(Basketball cheer sponsor) Patty Roberts reached out to a lot of districts around us to see what they were doing and we had some options.”

The Shenandoah cheer coaches decided the best way to go was to do the tryouts virtually and have the kids take videos of themselves and send them in.

“We have a senior who will record the cheer and dance of the school song,” said Nielsen, “and then a jump, a toe touch and we’ll send that out to the kids who have signed up.”

All potential cheer members who signed up between May 4 and 8 should receive that video, Monday, May 11. They will then have more than a week to practice it before tryout videos can be sent to all three coaches from May 20-22.

“We left a three-day period in case there were any technical issues,” said Nielsen, “and then we will judge that weekend and will send the videos to other judges as well to get input from other people.”

Unlike the basketball and wrestling squads, Nielsen can take virtually an unlimited number for her football cheer squad. She had eight on the team last year, and four of them were seniors. She said the goal in selecting the squads, and for the kids trying out, is to make this as easy and relaxing a process as possible.

“Everyone is stressed right now,” said Nielsen. “We want everyone to feel good about this and make the kids feel comfortable trying out and wanting to do this. Easy and relaxed are our key words right now, for the kids and us coaches.”

The squads will be announced, Tuesday, May 26.

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