Last Cheer for AHS Seniors


Mackenzie Conner

AHS dance team poses at the first football game.

Seniors Nikki Blizzard, Blair Buchanan, and Mikayla O’Callaghan have spent three years learning about dance and leadership from AHS grads like Piper Hamill, Emily Puder, and Bentley Rager. Now the three dance team captains are excited to take charge. Sometimes it can be a lot to handle.  

Junior and teammate Carson Friedland said,  

“It’s a lot to live up to because we’ve had really great leaders the past two years, but they are definitely putting in the effort and time and they care about the team… you can tell.”

The dance team has grown from eighteen dancers in 2012,- when the current seniors were freshman, to twenty-five people this fall season. The team is filled from eager freshman all the way to experienced juniors and seniors. The three captains think that this experience is so unique and special because team environment feels like one big family. Having experienced the ins and outs for many years senior and captain, Buchanan, has learned and gained so much from being on the team. Her goal is to make sure that everyone feels included and learns how to find their voice.

Buchanan said, “I have learned how to step up as a leader because I have always been the quiet kid since Pre-K, so it’s really about learning how to voice my opinion more.. and take charge.”

Blizzard, one of the co-captains, never expected the team to impact her in such a big way. She started the team freshman year.

“I have become a lot more flexible and my technique has improved through my dancing,” “In terms of the team itself, I have gained a lot of leadership. Everyone is loving and caring towards each other and you feel included and special.”

The captains work extremely hard to make sure everyone feels comfortable and they work as a team. O’Callaghan, the third co-captain, has learned a lot from working as a team.

“I have learned a lot about teamwork because it really is about a team effort and we do have to work together and collaborate. We also must have respect for each other,” O’Callaghan said.     

According to the captains they love the feeling of adrenaline and excitement once they are on the field doing routines.

The team says they are really excited for the upcoming homecoming game because they get to create their own routine. This is one of the many things that the captains can do now that they have a bigger role.

“We didn’t have a part or a say in our junior year and now everyone comes to us…I feel more in control,” Blizzard said.  

This control is something that is exciting, but also intimidating, and coach Heather Starr-Kallas, who has been coaching the team for now fifteen years, has confidence in the captains.

“Those three have always been super responsible, but now that they are captains they have a lot more responsibility,” Starr-Kallas said. I have known them since they were little and I have seen them go through every awkward stage to totally being amazing performers. I have loved seeing the progression over the years. ”

Even though it may be their last year to dance for AHS, we look forward to seeing them dance their hearts out at the upcoming games.

Buchanan said, “I’m sad it’s our last year to dance on the AHS dance team, but this experience will always have a special place in my heart.”