Cheerleading back in Manawa
Squad performs at football games
By Holly Neumann
There’s a new team in Manawa.
Under the direction on Kate Langman, the Manawa School District has a new cheerleading program for grades 7-12.
“Cheerleading has always been a part of my childhood,” she said. “I started when I was 8 years old. As soon as I was too old to be in the Manawa Cowboys program, I started coaching and kept coaching all the way through my first two years of college.”
After taking a year off, Langman realized just how much she missed having cheer as part of her life.
“With a lot of thought, I decided that I would open up a high school program and give the girls who miss cheerleading a chance to do it again,” she said.
Twenty girls are participating in the program, including 13 that have never cheered before.
“Everyone is so excited,” Langman said. “I very much believe that the cheer program will be a successful one.”
The squad has been performing at Manawa football games this season.
Cheerleading is more than just yelling on the sidelines, according to Langman. It also includes dance, stunting and tumbling.
“Cheer is one of the most dangerous sports out there,” she said. “You have to trust others to not only catch you, but you also have to trust yourself to do it.
“We have people 13 feet in the air, if not higher,” she added. “We also have girls who simply run and throw a back flip all by themselves. That’s not something you can tell anyone to do. It takes hours and hours of practice.”
Langman’s hope is that participants gain self-confidence and strength.
“I want them to love themselves and realize they’re a part of something great, that they give people a glimpse of happiness, even if a game isn’t going the way it was planned,” she said.
She reminds her athletes there are little girls and also youth cheer teams watching and hoping to be just like them when they grow up.
“What I want the girls to get out of this is that they are admired and people love seeing them perform,” she said.
Langman takes pride is seeing her squad get a dance, stunt or tumbling pass perfected.
“It’s some of the proudest moments I have,” she said. “It makes my heart happy knowing they are working that hard at bettering themselves.”
The goals for the season are quite simple; to make everyone excited to be a part of another sport they enjoy and to show that Manawa has yet another great program for their athletes.
“I want everyone to know that this program takes a lot of work from the girls,” Langman said. “It’s not only the three practices a week, it’s the time they spent at home practicing, that the things they learned didn’t just happen and work on the first day. These girls have worked hard to perform the way they do.”
Langman hopes the squad will eventually be able to compete in area cheer tournaments.
“We are testing the waters this fall,” she said. “The cheer team has so much potential. I hope the Manawa community is ready for another great group of athletes.”