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Former Rams cheerleader makes way to NFL

May 4, 2017
Vanessa McGuigan - Shepherdstown Chronicle , Shepherdstown Chronicle

Note: Guidelines from the Baltimore Ravens association require that last names of cheerleaders not be used in news publications.

For over 15 years Amanda has been a cheerleader and dreaming of a career with the NFL. After six years of try-outs, her dream was realized a few weeks ago when she was selected to be part of the Baltimore Ravens cheer team.

"Each year trying out was an incredible experience," said Amanda. "I learned something new each time, and learned what I needed to improve on. I've also met amazing people and friends throughout this journey who were willing to help me improve."

There are five rounds of auditions each year, which include learning routines, interviews and physical exams. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED, and be physically fit-able to run 2 to 3 miles and are judged on showmanship, dance skills, performance and tumbling and stunts if trying out for the stunt team. The Baltimore Ravens are the only NFL to currently have male cheerleaders, 23 to be exact, along with 17 stunt cheerleaders and 16 dancers.

All of Amanda's hard work paid off. Her 3 years cheering at Shepherd University, and two years cheering on Baltimore's indoor soccer team, The Blast, helped prepare her to beat out over 150 others to earn a coveted position on a 17-person stunt team roster.

"To prepare for tryouts I would go to various open gyms and practice stunts with the male cheerleaders on the team. That way I could learn the Ravens technique and learn different stunts that I would be doing if I made the team," said Amanda. "I also cheered for Baltimore Blast for two years which helped improve my dancing and my confidence as a cheerleader and performer. I spent countless hours in the gym making sure I was in the best physical shape as possible."

Amanda's mom, Brenda said, "I've never seen anyone so committed to getting what they wanted to get. Her journey was difficult, but she never gave up. She did dance clinics-did everything she could to get on the stunt team.. This year she hit the nail on the head."

Just what goes into hyping up the crowd at home games? Amanda says, "Throughout the season we will practice 2 days a week for 2-3 hours. We'll work out as a team, practice our stunts, work on our dances, etc. Every game we will perform a routine on the field, so practices will also be devoted to learning and perfecting that routine so it's game day ready. We definitely have to make sure we stay in shape all season. Games are very long and in different weather conditions so we have to make sure we're able to have enough stamina and energy to last the entire game."

Amanda, who plans to continue cheering for as long as she's able, says she might be nervous the first time she runs out of the tunnel onto the field, but she's confident in her coaches and knows she'll be more excited than anything.

"It's an incredible honor to have made the squad," said Amanda. "Girls work so hard to become NFL cheerleaders and dream about this their whole life. I was one of those girls and I still cannot believe my dream has finally come true. I can't thank everyone enough who helped me get to where I am today."

 
 
 

 

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