South Dakota State University sophomore and 2017 Britton-Hecla graduate Galle Waletich is a member of the SDSU cheer team this season.
B-H Grad Takes Love Of Cheering To Next Level
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
After experiencing the school spirit and high-energy environment of a South Dakota State University football game, a Britton-Hecla graduate decided that cheering on the sidelines was still the spot for her.
SDSU sophomore Galle Waletich was a cheerleader for the Britton-Hecla Braves all throughout high school. After her graduation in 2017, she decided to continue her cheer career and try out for the SDSU squad. She was influenced by her love of gymnastics and cheerleading in high school, and after attending that football game she knew that the cheer team was something she wanted to be a part of.
Of the three spirit squads on campus (All Girl Cheer, Co-Ed Cheer, and the dance team) Waletich decided to go for a spot on the All Girl squad. She started preparing for her freshman year’s tryouts two months before the process started. She began by honing the tumbling skills she’d already learned from her years as a gymnast, since tumbling is important for a collegiate cheer squad. Eating right and adding in extra workouts also helped Waletich prepare, though the tryout processes are intense and very different from what she was used to in high school.
“The tryout process is very emotionally and physically draining,” says Waletich. “You spend two days learning new material, stunting, and tumbling. It really pushes your body to its breaking point.”
The tryout process consists of stunting, tumbling, cheering, and performing the fight song. The process lasts two days, the first to learn these skills, and the second to showcase them and make corrections. Waletich says that the mental aspect of tryouts is also tough.
“You have to be able to take criticism and make changes without taking it too personally.”
Since Waletich is now entering her sophomore year of college, she’s no longer a rookie on the team, which has affected her tryout experience.
“Tryouts as a veteran were less stressful because I had a whole season under my belt, so I knew how to do things in a collegiate style,” Waletich explains.
Cheerleading in high school and cheerleading in college are very different. While high school cheer focuses more on cheers and chants to pump up the crowd, collegiate squads rely more on stunting and wowing the crowd to make some noise. Motions and stunts are also done very differently in the two divisions.
A typical Jacks cheer practice lasts around two or three hours, two days a week. Besides practicing stunting, the team runs and conditions. Cheerleaders are also required to spend time in the weight room three days per week.
During the football and basketball seasons, the cheerleaders are typically busy five to seven days a week. The squads are also very involved in the Brookings community and make volunteering a priority. All these activities make time management an important skill Waletich has had to perfect the past two years. Cheerleaders need to schedule all non-cheer activities around their cheer schedule.
“It gets hard to make time for work, homework, and having a social life,” says Waletich.
Despite it being tough at first, Waletich advises people to try out for the team.
“My advice would be to just go for it. Trying out is a very scary process, but the end result makes it all worth it. I’ve been given countless opportunities that I would not have had without cheer.”
You can see Waletich and her squad in action at the South Dakota State versus Indiana State game in Brookings on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.