Adolfo and the gang

Schuyler Central High School cheerleader Adolfo Cruz fires up the crowd during a Jan. 4 girls basketball game against Boys Town.

Liz Morales, Lee Enterprises

The Schuyler Central High School cheerleaders lined up along the baseline Thursday night to root for the varsity girls in their game against Boys Town.

Among the smiling faces and pompoms was first-year cheerleader Adolfo Cruz.

The 18-year-old senior said dancing has always been one of his biggest passions. That passion led him to try out for the SCHS dance team earlier in his high school career.

“I tried out for dance the beginning of my sophomore year,” Cruz said. “But I didn’t make it. I was a little sad about it, but I wanted to keep trying. The next year, when I was a junior, I started to really get into cheer. I saw the sequel to 'Bring It On' and thought, ‘You know, I can do that.’”

Cruz followed this hunch and tried out for the cheer team at the beginning of his senior year.

“I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it, not even my mom," he said. "So after I found out I made the team, I called her and told her what had happened."

"‘You did what?'" he said, describing her response.

"Mom was a little surprised, but she was so happy I made it.”

So far, the journey has been a pleasant one for the Schuyler native.

“It’s been really awesome,” Cruz said. “I had friends on the team already, those who were in my grade, but I’ve been able to make friends with the other girls in lower grades and we all have a lot of fun.”

While he isn’t a flyer for the cheerleading team, he does have another important job for the more acrobatic stunts.

“I’m a base for the flyer and back spot for some of our routines,” Cruz explained. “That means I get behind the flyer and help her to get up on other girls’ shoulders. I’m also there to catch whoever is coming down from the fly.”

The strenuous physical feats were a bit difficult at first, Cruz said. Some aches and pains came with the job, but he has since gotten used to it.

The school's lone male cheerleader has received support along the way from coach Ashlie Stone and Activities Director Jim Kasik.

Any negative attention is easily outweighed by the positives.

“This has been the best experience for me,” Cruz said. “I’ve always loved to dance. If there wasn’t some element of dance in cheer, then I wouldn’t do it. But I’m so glad I was able to be a part of this.”

Cruz plans to attend Wayne State College after he graduates from high school.

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