Herbster Breaks Barriers as First Burroughs Male Cheerleader

Herbster Breaks Barriers as First Burroughs Male Cheerleader

Sara Cao and Ava Teasdale

Most Burroughs students are accustomed to seeing football players and cheerleaders sporting their uniforms the Friday before a football game. This year, Andrew Herbster (‘22) proudly sports his white, blue, and yellow cheer uniform as the first male cheerleader in Burroughs history.

In the first year that Burroughs has allowed cheerleading to be an official sport for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, Herbster cheerleads on the newly-formed competition team, which is set to compete for the first time on October 26th. To prepare, the entire team has been working hard before and after school to perfect their cheers and to learn new stunts, in addition to cheering for the football team during weekend games.

An avid performer and dancer who often cheered as a fan in the stands of the football games, Herbster found cheerleading fitting. While stunting, Herbster’s favorite part of cheerleading, he serves as the back-base for many of the stunts that require him to quickly lift the other flyers into the air.

With the date of their competition soon approaching, the team is eager to improve and refine their craft. Because Burroughs’ team is now co-ed, they are required to complete a more complex single-base, co-ed stunt in competition. This type of stunt is new for a team that is used to performing stunts with three bases. The stunt requires Herbster to hold his flyer, Lily Orchard (‘20), on top of his shoulders so that she can stand. The first time the squad successfully completed the co-ed stunt, Herbster exclaimed that it “was one of the best feelings I think I’ve had this season! It just felt amazing.”

Not only have they been practicing for the competition, but the entire cheerleading squad has also been busy preparing for the pep rally. Herbster and the rest of the squad are excited to get on stage and perform in front of the student body. Most of all, Herbster is looking forward to the “special feeling when you’re standing on the stage and those doors burst open and all the students come running in to see you cheer and dance.”

Quick to express how supportive his fellow cheerleaders and coaches have been, Herbster describes the excitement he felt last year after approaching Dr. Jay, the head cheerleading coach, about joining the team. “Cheerleading is a co-ed sport and it always has been,” says Dr. Jay, who has coached the JBS cheer squad for three years. She points out that having co-ed teams remains the norm among top universities with vibrant cheer teams. Universities with elite cheerleading programs offer lucrative scholarships for both male and female cheerleaders that are recruited for their sport, much like we’re used to seeing in football, basketball, or field hockey programs. “It’s new for Burroughs, not the sport,” adds Dr. Jay, who stresses that the JBS cheer squad is welcoming to anyone, regardless of their gender. “He’s been a crucial addition to our squad, especially during its first year as an official JBS team sport,” Dr. Jay said, adding that Herbster “he has a love of the sport, an amazing energy that inspires his fellow team members, and [he] encourages us all to push further and try new skills.”

Getting up on stage as the first and only male cheerleader would seem terrifying to most students, but Herbster isn’t afraid of what his performing future holds. He is grateful for the connections he has formed with his teammates and the unwavering support that the Burroughs community has given him. “I just don’t care what people think sometimes,” he said, “so I think that’s why I was able to do it.”