New to the Team

Jennifer Welch, Staff Writer

For the first time in West High history, according to Ms. Eriksen, the varsity cheerleading team will consist of both male and female cheerleaders.  When tryouts began in early May, two male students were among the many who tried out.  Of the two, Miguel Venegas (11) was accepted to the varsity team.

Venegas has wanted to try out for several years and finally committed to doing so this year because “Next year is my senior year and I want to go out with a bang.”  He found motivation from the cheerleaders who “have been unbelievably supportive…They try to help out as much as they can.  If they were not as supportive, I would not have tried out.”

Since the announcement, the school has conveyed mixed feelings towards the news. Venegas summarized the reactions as such: “There’s two ways.  First, some come up to me and say that’s really good, and they’re so happy for me.  Others…say I’m gay.  But the other cheerleaders stand up and tell them it’s not true.  I find a lot of girls and teachers say it’s good.”  Hopefully, as the season progresses, students will be more accepting of this change–considering how 50% of collegiate cheerleaders are male according to a survey from

Despite the hours of hard work and practice required, Venegas is thrilled to have been accepted.  “I’m happy to be a part of the team.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”   He also anticipates inspiring other male Warriors to try out for the team in the future.  “Maybe there are other guys who really want to [join the team].  I hope they will try out, as we need more guys on the team.”  Venegas feels his acceptance to the varsity cheerleading team is an honor and is excited for next year, when he will be able to help contribute to the team in its competitions and performances.