Jane M. signs with Briar Cliff University, begins preparation for collegiate cheer


Courtesy Photo

Front row: Jane's mom, Mary Ann M. and senior Jane M. Back row: Briar Cliff University head cheerleading coach Alisha Knowler and David City High School dance team coach Ainslee Kroenke.

Jonah S.

Talent, dedication, and a desire to improve are all qualities that coaches look for in athletes. Luckily for senior Jane M., Briar Cliff University head cheerleading coach Alisha Knowler noticed these attributes in Jane when Jane first visited the college her junior year.

Now, less than a week away from graduation, Jane has signed her letter of intent to cheer at Briar Cliff University and is excited for the next step in cheerleading and in life.

“I went for a group visit day my junior year to Briar Cliff University. The Nebraska representative asked me if I wanted to meet with a coach and I thought it would be a good opportunity. I was a cheerleader and dancer at the time, so I told him I would,” Jane said.

This visit soon became an important moment for Jane after Knowler said Jane made a great first impression.

“Initially meeting [Jane] on her visit, she seemed very dedicated and driven, and I really like those qualities in the girls I recruit,” Knowler said.

Following a positive experience at her visit, Jane participated in tryouts at the college on Feb. 13 where she shined even more.

“At her tryout, she caught on quickly and took my criticism very well,” Knowler said. “She fixed any mistakes she was making, which showed me she listens and wants to improve and be the best cheerleader she can possibly be.”

Jane said she was excited when she found out she made the team. She was already planning to attend Briar Cliff University to study biochemistry, but this was an added bonus for her, she said.

“I’m really excited to challenge myself,” Jane said. “Collegiate sports are much more difficult, and I think it will be fun to see where it leads me.”

Collegiate cheer will be more difficult for Jane. Knowler said she teaches the moves faster and the turnaround time between game day, sideline, and competition events is shorter.

“High school cheer is more of an activity in our school,” Jane said. “It’s considered a club or activity, whereas collegiate cheer is a sport. We have mandatory workout schedules and conditioning to improve our physical fitness.”

Jane said she hopes to be ready for the vigorous schedule by the time practices start.

“I’ve started new workouts and training to be up to the same standard as the rest of the team,” Jane said. “I have weekly tumbling classes all summer for the competition team as well.”

DCHS dance team coach Ainslee Kroenke said she knows Jane will transition smoothly into college cheer.

“Jane has always been a dedicated athlete. She works hard at every practice, and she’s an excellent teammate,” Kroenke said. “Briar Cliff is lucky to have her. She’ll bring great dedication and leadership to their team.”