Oswego High School’s competitive cheer team, consisting of 23 girls from each grade, takes part in the half-time and sideline performance at the boys’ basketball games. They also compete against other high schools in the SPC and IHSA at various meets and invites. As their season comes to a close, I took the time to sit down with senior Alex Steinbrecher about her final season cheering for the Panthers.

“This is my seventh year doing cheer, and I’ve done two seasons all four years of high school,” Steinbrecher says, struggling to remember a time she didn’t participate in the activity.

As a seasoned veteran in gymnastics, Steinbrecher began cheering in the sixth grade just “for fun” and fell in love with the sport.

Outside of cheer, Steinbrecher is involved in “the Oswego Athletic Training Program, [as well as] horticulture club, BIONIC, and the yearbook staff” here at OHS. She humbly balances each of these extracurriculars on her plate all while maintaining her grades.

This year was a different experience for the cheer team, as there was only one full varsity team instead of a junior varsity and a varsity team.

“We didn’t have the amount of girls for two teams, so majority of our team this year is underclassmen,” Steinbrecher reveals. “Out of the four years I’ve been here…we’ve had two teams and this is the first year we’ve had one.”

With this in mind, the seniors now have higher expectations to step up and be leaders for the underclassmen before they’re gone.

“As a senior, [we’re] expected to lead the team and make sure the underclassmen stay on track, because they tend to get silly at times.” Steinbrecher explains. Seniors have to make sure underclassmen don’t get too off track and are both attentive and focused at practices so they can be at their best for performances.

Steinbrecher laments that she’s most passionate about getting to dance at the end of a routine, that part being her favorite. “At the end of the three minutes when you’ve put your heart and soul into tumbling,” she says, “You’re sweating, and you’ve stunted for so long and are so tired, you get to dance your heart out and smile to the crowd for the last 10 seconds.”

For Alex and many other cheerleaders here at OHS, the opportunity to be able to participate in something they’re all passionate about and become a family to one another is very special to them. Our various teams are lucky to have the support and effort that these girls give day in and day out. You can return the love at the varsity boys basketball game on Sat., Feb. 16 at home against Joliet Central starting at 5:30 pm.

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