By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer



The first people you see when walking into a CWU sporting event are often the cheerleaders. They are the ones hyping up the crowd and getting everyone on to their feet, there to help cheer on the CWU athletes.

Shamara Johnson is a cheerleader for CWU, and this is her second-year cheering for the team. “I think overall [CWU’s cheer team] it’s super fun, everyone is supportive and it is always a good time.” Johnson said. 

The CWU cheer team recently traveled to Anaheim, California for the United Spirit Association (USA) Collegiate Championships for the first time and placed fourth in situational category of the competition and seventh in their performance of the fight song.

“[The feeling of competing at nationals is] unexplainable, I felt very humbled to be able to represent Central for the first time,” senior captain of the cheer team, Isabelle Zahnow said.

While the athletic department did provide the cheer team with a public send off according to the CWU Director of Athletics, Dennis Francois, some members didn’t necessarily feel like they received adequate recognition for this success.

“We definitely feel under-appreciated by athletics,” Olivia Sander, a junior on the cheer team, said. “But I hope by competing at nationals yearly now [that] they start to take us more seriously.” 

While CWU’s cheer team is only recognized as an organization under the athletic department, they go about things similarly to other intercollegiate sports. The cheer team still hosts team tryouts and receives money from the athletic department to fund a part-time coach and limited tuition waiver scholarships.

“We do get some benefits, like a scholarship for each quarter and we get study hall time but there is always room for improvement,” Johnson said. 

Members of the team expressed dissatisfaction with the way that their team is represented on CWU’s athletics website,, as neither the team’s roster nor their schedule is reachable from this page.

“Also, we have no athletic trainers, and we are a very injury prone sport. We are tossing girls up and down and having them flying which is a risk for injury and we have no trainers,” Zahnow expressed. “I think we could get acknowledged more but I do not see it happening.”

The cheer team does have access to the athletic trainer’s office on campus, but given limited staff availability and the amount of funds that can be allocated they do not have a trainer assigned to their team.

Despite adversity, the cheer team has continued to work hard and foster a positive environment for all. “The growth this team has had and the challenges we’ve faced, I am really proud of where we ended up,” Zahnow said.

The team will be holding clinics and tryouts that can be accessed through It was just announced that their college clinics will be held on Sunday, March 10 and Sunday, April 21. Tryouts will take place on Sunday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..

Next time you hear “Go Cats,” realize that even the loudest voices in the room aren’t always heard by others.

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