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Learning to cheer early

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Forty-three girls signed up for the RUidoso cheer camp at RHS, June 2.

RUIDOSO – Fundraising is always a part of high school activities and clubs. It’s inevitable.

Kudos to the programs that can raise money and cultivate for the future at the same time.

That’s what’s happening at Ruidoso High School right now, as the Ruidoso cheer team is hosting a two-day camp for students from pre-school to fifth grade.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso cheer coach Kate Siedenberger teaches students a cheer on the first day of cheer camp at Ruidoso High School.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso cheer coach Kate Siedenberger teaches students a cheer on the first day of cheer camp at Ruidoso High School.

It’s also a chance for the cheer team to get to know their new coach a little better.

Kate Siedenberger has taken the reins at RHS after two years restarting the program at Ruidoso Middle School and an eight-year stint coaching All-Star competitive cheer in San Antonio, Texas.

She said she got into coaching cheer almost by accident.

“My niece was in cheer in San Antonio, and they lost their coach. So my sister in law asked if I would coach,” Siedenberger said. “I had coached sports, but not cheer. I tried it and I loved it.”

Now she leads the Lady Warrior cheer team, and the response to this first camp has been overwhelming.

A total of 43 girls signed up for the camp, with 13 of them coming in on the day it all started.

Not only is that a lot of money raised for the cheer squad, it’s also a lot of young girls – some as young as five – learning how to cheer and getting excited about the activity at a young age.

Katie Siedenberger

Kate Siedenberger

“There’s a lo0t of interest in cheer, and there haven’t been enough cheer programs,” Siedenberger said. “We do have Little League (football) and Deenie Beavers runs that and does a phenomenal job. There’s a little of that, but there’s so much interest and so much good that can be done through cheer.”

Siedenberger was quick to point out the usual perception of cheerleaders – pretty, vain, popular and mean girls – is false. The idea that it isn’t really a “sport” is as well.

“This becomes a vehicle for personal growth, even among the coaches,” Siedenberger said. “They learn from me, but I always learn so much more from them.

“Gameday is a little different for me, but I’m excited to see how these girls can elevate the fans and elevate the school,” she added. “But when you compete, they face exceptional athletes. The athleticism in some of that tumbling and stunting is amazing.”

The camp is so successful, the team is planning to host a similar camp in January just after Christmas.

Ruidoso’s had a history of cheer excellence in the past with state titles, and Siedenberger doesn’t see any reason why this year’s team could bring home a trophy come next March, despite the smaller numbers on the team.

“I went to the competition last year, and I saw some exceptional athletes, but no one is unbeatable,” she said. “Even though we’re a small village and small school, we have every bit as much talent as anyone else.”

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