Haley Fredericks tumbles out of gymnastics and into cheerleading

More stories from Tia Ramahi


Wendy Fredricks

Haley Fredricks and her teammate jump with joy at the DGS vs Addison Trail Game

The crowd is silent, senior Haley Fredricks comes up to the gymnastics mat to perform her floor routine. She takes off running and does a front aerial. She lands her final tumble, the back tuck, and the football stadium goes wild. As the harsh football lights are shining down on Fredricks, she knew she made the right decision to leave gymnastics and pursue cheer.

Fredricks was originally a gymnast for ten years and quit before entering high school in hopes of making the cheerleading team because she wanted to experience something gymnastics couldn’t give her.

“Gymnastics is an individual sport and to me is more of an art form because it’s very flowy and pretty but with cheer, it’s very precise and relies heavily on teamwork, and I wanted to see what it’s like to be a part of a cohesive team,” Fredricks said.

Trying out for the cheerleading team was very nerve-racking for Fredricks due to her not being very knowledgeable about the sport. Cheerleading Coach Shannon Lahey saw a lot of potential in Fredricks and knew she would be fit for varsity.

“The first thing I thought was that she was a very talented athlete that had a lot of skills that were going to be really great additions to our team,” Lahey said.

Fredricks worked hard to perfect her cheerleading skills. Gymnastics gave her an edge with her perfected tumbling skills, but she was still lacking in terms of her stunting and toe touches. Her sophomore year she joined All-Star, a private competitive cheerleading team, in hopes of fine-tuning her skills.

“I would learn new skills in All-Star, and I would send them to my high school coach and she’d tell me it would look great and that made me excited to come back my junior year with these new sets of skills,” Fredricks said.

Cheerleading taught Fredericks something that gymnastics never could, which was how to talk nicely to herself. It was an accomplishment even Lahey noticed and made her especially proud of Fredricks.

“When we come off of the floor and we might have had a couple of deductions, she really stands up as a leader and a role model and has a positive outlook on things. Those are the moments when I’m most proud of her,” Lahey said.

As DGS has concluded its football season and the cheerleaders have wrapped up their fall season. Look out for the winter season approaching and the cheerleading team’s first cheer competition on Dec. 4 and be sure to come watch Fredricks in action.