Freshman Take on Red and Gold


The freshmen cheerleading squad works hard to inspire the Rocks during a home game.

Kailyn Sanders, Editor

Being a freshman can be scary, but Camryn and Kaiya already experienced their first game jitters. The Rock Island cheerleaders’ first big event is the Red and Gold scrimmage game. 

Being new to any team could be nerve-racking. But according to Camryn Milefchik, she says, “It’s different being on a team with upperclassmen. It’s so much fun being a cheerleader with all grades because you make new friends, and you feel more comfortable in the school.” Kaiya McKinley states, “It’s exciting because I’ve met so many new people that have helped me and prepare me for the games.” 

Some people may think that going in front of your first high school crowd would be nerve-racking, but Milefchik explains her excitement towards the game, stating, “I get really excited because this is my first time cheering for Rocky, and I feel like I can show how hard I’ve been working.” Obviously, when being new to any team, you’re going to struggle a little bit and may ask for help. “They’ve [the upperclassmen] helped me learn all the cheers, and they answer all of my questions I have about games, cheers and stunts,” McKinley explains about how the older cheerleaders have helped her prepare for games.

Coach Patricia Gallegos explains what her cheerleaders have been practicing to get prepared for the Red and Gold Game, stating, “General sideline cheers, the “Fight Song”, jumps and crowd cheers. The general sideline cheers they practice for the Red and Gold game are cheers that are not offense or defense cheers, and have the words “red” and “gold” in the cheer. The Red and Gold game is like a practice game to sort of get a feeling of what an actual game is like. The “Fight Song” is performed at every game, but for the new cheerleaders, it’s a big deal for them to perform it for the first time in front of a crowd. Crowd cheers are cheers we use to get the crowd involved in the cheer.” Gallegos used to be a Rocky cheerleader in 1997 to 2001. This will be her 16th year coaching cheerleading. Because Gallegos is an alumni, she explains how it has affected her coaching, stating, “I’m already familiar with school traditions. Being a former cheerleader helps me to know how to teach proper techniques. It’s been fun to watch how Rock Island Cheer has changed over the years.”    

Most of the time, when you are in a sport, there will be little kids who look up to you and want to be in your spot when they get older, and that’s exactly what happened to Milefchik, “

When I was little, I would go to the Rocky games, and I would just watch the cheerleaders, and I would want to be them. Now, knowing that I am a Rocky cheerleader, my dreams from first grade came true

— Camryn Milefchik

,” she states. 

At the start of every new season, there is always something you get excited about and look forward to. For Gallegos, she is most excited for, “Becoming more involved with football cheer and adding competition cheer to the program.” McKinley says how much she wants to “learn new cheers and stunts”, while Milefchik adds that she is most excited for “making new friends and team bonding.” 

Being new to any team can be scary. Camryn and Kaiya handled it well. They were able to fit in with the rest of the team as if they weren’t freshman.