In her second year as the Ponca City High School cheer coach, PoHi alum and former cheerleader Amie Huster is trying to rebuild what has been a languishing program.
“It’s always been my passion to come back and teach girls how to cheer and bring back the program like it was when I cheered,” said Huster. “I’ve got nine on my varsity squad, most of whom have been in competitive cheer since they could walk and there are nine on my junior varsity squad as well. We went to UCA cheer camp in Tulsa this summer and learned a lot of new stunts and cheers and learned about Game Day competition which I hope to get us into next year because it’s probably been at least 10 years since Ponca City did competitive cheer. One of my main goals this year is to reestablish accountability and become more cohesive as a team while establishing leadership from the seniors on down.”
Two of her main cheerleaders are seniors Rikki Baird and Emma Graham. They both have long careers in outside competitive cheer and have been team captains the last two years. Rikki says that reviving the program has been tough but worth the effort.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work and conditioning but it’s worth it. We’ve done a lot of team bonding and have worked a lot in the community with a lot of fund-raising events. We also work closely with the school and the student council to make sure everyone knows what’s going on at school,” said Baird who is on the student council, the National Honor Society and a manager for the girls’ golf team. “As a senior leader I think being a good role model is important and being someone girls are comfortable talking to as well as being able to take charge when needed.”
The take-charge aspect is one that appeals to Graham as well as promoting team comradery.
“I always like to be in charge and make the team better. Last year wasn’t great for team tranquility but I think things are lot better this year. One of my goals this year is to really improve our cheer skills,” said Graham who is also in National Honor Society and in the orchestra.
While there are different aspects of cheering the two captains love, there is one common denominator that both agreed on.
“There’s nothing like cheering at football games on Friday nights and getting the crowd involved is sort of surreal,” said Baird.