BY BECKY FULTON – STAFF WRITER
Those who have attended Centre’s home football games this season may have noticed something a little different about this year’s cheer squad. Mike Carter, a junior Computer Science major, is the only male member on the squad, and the first one at Centre in years.
“I wanted to do something athletic, to work out more, and get in better shape,” Carter said. “Cheerleading was the most unique, out of the way thing I could do.”
Carter decided on a whim to take up cheerleading. “I just emailed the coach,” he said. “I didn’t think it was going to be a thing.” As for joining the squad, Carter has had a pleasant experience.
“It was a lot more seamless than I thought it’d be. We’re all business-oriented during practice,” Carter said.
Coach Robin Moler believes Carter’s presence has benefitted the group as a whole.
“He is an amazing addition to our squad,” Moler said. “Centre used to have male cheerleaders and he’s bringing it back.”
Carter’s involvement has also changed the types of routines the squad can perform.
“The difficulty of the stunting we can do has improved,” Moler said.
Carter’s backspot position in the formation enables these more challenging stunts. He is responsible for making sure the head, neck, and shoulders of the cheerleader in the role of the flyer, the person up in the air, does not get hurt.
“[Carter] does a great job making sure the flyer is safe,” Moler said.
Stunting is also Carter’s favorite part about being on the cheer squad.
“I don’t like the cheerleading part,” Carter said. Many of the new football recruits who visit are now also expressing an interest in possibly joining the cheer squad for the winter season.
“We have recruits coming in that want to play football but cheer basketball,” Moler said. “It’s cool that other people are thinking to join.”
As for being the only male member of the squad, Carter said he has not had to deal with much teasing from others, but quite the opposite.
“People are so hyper aware of giving me flack,” Carter said. “I get called smart a lot. It’s really positive.”
However, as always, there is at least one difficulty Carter facing when being on a squad with all women. “They sometimes discuss problems that relate only to the girls,” Carter said.
But Carter’s addition to the squad seems to be over all a positive one.
“He trains just as hard as everyone else,” Moler said. “People are shocked when they see him.”
Other members of the squad also view Carter’s joining the squad in a positive light. “I’ve never cheered with guys,” said Junior and Co-Captain Devin Baker. “So it’s a great experience.”
Senior Brandy Orth Becker also has an optimistic outlook on Carter’s joining the squad,
“Mike offers more stability than a good bra.”
This stability is something Carter plans to continue providing as the long male force on the cheerleading team. However, his ultimate hope is to reinvigorate the male cheerleading culture at Centre College. With this, he is certainly off to a very promising start.