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Give me a W-I-L-D...

Members of the Humboldt High School large group competitive cheerleading squad are: front row from left; Lizabeth Gonzalez, Ashlyn Nicholson, Kenzie Shelgren, Rachel Buss, Tori Hamilton and Macy Larsen. Back row from left: Jocelyn Waterbury, Haley Larson, Kelsy Applegate, Alyssa Carlson, Gloria Beltran, Paxton King, Kyle McBeth, Gunnar Erickson and coach Karin Thiele. Jocelyn has been an alternate on the team and Kyle and Gunnar have split duties. Submitted photo.

Humboldt High School completed a first Saturday, Nov. 3. Its first ever state competition in competitive cheerleading in the cheer/dance division.
The team is comprised of 11 girls and one boy and begin practicing in earnest in July, “although it’s kind of a year-around activity,” according to Humboldt cheer coach Karin Thiele, who guided the team during its season.
“Last spring, several of the girls came to open gym to learn new stunts and to work on their routines,” Thiele said.
In July, the group began practicing as a unit, learning choreography and tumbling moves in anticipation of the competitive events.
The large and small group squads participated at the Triton Challenge in Fort Dodge in late October, and then in the state competition on Nov. 3 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
Humboldt’s large group squad finished 14 of 15 schools in the Class 3A cheer/dance division.
The stunt group A team of Kenzie Shelgren, Rachel Buss, Kelsy Applegate, Alyssa Carlson and Paxton King placed 24th of 32 teams in their routine. The stunt group B team of Lizabeth Gonzalez, Macy Larsen, Tori Hamilton, Ashlyn Nicholson and Gloria Beltran were 22nd of 32 teams.
Team members can put in as much as 15-20 hours per week practicing for competitions. Members say learning and perfecting the routines can be just a physically and emotionally taxing as being involved in a more traditional team sport.
Thiele said the team hopes to have a local performance in December and to perform during halftime of a Wildcat basketball game.
“As we gain experience and exposure, we hope to get more people interested in becoming involved. People with a tumbling or dance background who are looking for an athletic activity, should definitely consider competitive cheer,” the coach says.