On the Track, Not the Turf: Spotlight on Male Cheerleading

Drums start beating, the sun is still shining, and the football team puts their helmets on to get ready for a new season of Friday night football in Woolwich Township, but Kingsway’s cheerleaders have gained a few new members: male athletes.

Matthias Alexander, a 17-year-old senior at Kingsway Regional High School, took the step into cheerleading alongside Dylan McCarthy and Benjamin Dryden. Cheerleading is a sport dominated by females and can be very intimidating to men, especially in the high school setting. Matthias was brave enough to take that leap. He said, “One of the reasons that I did cheer for Kingsway was to hopefully inspire other guys to do it because it’s a lot of fun.” 

Matthias was brought into the world of cheerleading from the seniors’ beach day in August. He spent time stunting with some of the girls who have been on the cheer team since their freshman year and luckily persuaded him into joining them this season. Outside of school, Matthias also cheers for South Jersey Storm on their U-18 coed level 6 non-tumble team which is a new addition to his schedule.

He credits junior, Ava Spicer, for inspiring him to try out for all-star cheer this year. However, he prefers cheering for Kingsway since it’s a lot more relaxed with a lot more creative control. Matthias was always bringing new stunt ideas to the team and always asking to try new things. After the fall season, Matthias runs track during the winter, which he is excellent at. 

Matthias was originally very nervous about going into Kingsway cheer since it is prominently female, not to mention it’s a new sport to him. He said, “The biggest intimidation about going into a female-dominated sport is whether your teammates will grow fond of you. I can luckily say that my female teammates did like me. But the most difficult thing to become accustomed to in cheer is stunts falling and the bruises that come with being a backspot”. 

Now that the fall season has ended, Matthias is able to reflect. He has completed his first and last high school cheer season. Matthias’s plan after graduation is to attend a four-year university and pursue exercise science. He sees cheerleading as his sport of choice because the structure of college cheerleading has a mix of competitive cheer and more relaxed cheer, which he finds as a happy medium.

As a whole, Matthias enjoyed his time on Kingsway’s cheer team as the girls welcomed him and the other boys with open arms into their family. When asked if he would have started cheerleading earlier, he said, “I definitely do wish that I started high school cheer earlier because I’d want to redo this past season all over again if I could.” The Kingsway cheerleaders had a very successful season that consisted of many new accomplishments, adjustments, and plenty of support. Matthias and the other boys on the team have set a great example of taking a chance that Kingsway should carry on throughout the many years to come.