Making Cheerleading History
Most people see the sideline cheerleaders; the pom-poms and stunts; the cheers for their team. What some don’t see is that it is a hard and challenging sport. That’s why being the first individual to letter 8 times in cheerleading is certainly making Ames High history. Munia Awadalla is the first in school history not only to letter that many times but also the first to participate in every Iowa Cheerleading Coaches Association (ICCA) event.
“I honestly had no idea that I was on the path to making Ames High history,” says Awadalla. “Coach Logan looked into it recently and noticed that I was the first to letter 8 times in cheer at Ames high and the first to participate in all ICCA events representing Ames high school.”
Dana Logan, coach of Ames High cheerleading, saw potential in Awadalla from the start.
“I knew Munia was special ever since her freshman year cheer tryouts” says Logan. “She was one of only two freshmen to be selected to cheer on the varsity squad. Her smile and enthusiasm are infectious and she just shines whenever she is cheering.”
According to Logan, this accomplishment is even more noteworthy because there often isn’t crossover between cheerleaders choosing to cheer in both the fall and winter seasons. She hopes this acknowledgement and celebration of Awadalla’s commitment to cheerleading will help the program retain talented athletes year-round.
“This will lead to a physically stronger team in the sense that they will strive for constant improvement in their stunts, jumps, and tumbling,” said Logan. “This will also foster a sense of unity between the two seasons and create a cheer family that spans their entire high school career.”
Awadalla says she looked up to the AHS cheerleaders since she was little, knowing from a young age she wanted to cheer. She is humble in this accomplishment and notes how thankful she is for the people who saw potential in her from the very beginning. Awadalla says that increased her confidence and kept pushing her to be the best and believe in herself.
“Cheer has been my safe space all through high school, it’s made my life so much fuller,” she said. “Cheering, stunting, and especially performing, gives me a rush that is so memorable and valuable.”
What the crowd doesn’t always see above the cheering and stunting are the relationships that come with being a cheerleader. Many squads take on qualities of a small family.
“We lift each other up, figuratively and literally,” says Awadalla. “You have a special bond with your cheer team that’s different from other friendships. I can always go to cheer and have someone to talk to, or someone who makes my day better.”
According to Logan, one of Awadalla’s biggest strengths is taking feedback from her coaches and applying that in order to improve. As a flyer, the person that is in the air during a cheerleading stunt, her positive attitude and work ethic have allowed her to successfully execute many elite skills in both cheerleading competitions and on the sidelines of games while entertaining Ames fans. Described as an exceptional leader, Awadalla is sure to leave her mark on AHS cheerleading.
“Munia is irreplaceable,” says Logan, “but I am confident that her setting this school record will pave the way for more Ames cheerleaders to follow her lead and achieve their goals.”
As a senior, we asked Awadalla what the future holds for her and if cheerleading would be a part of that.
“When it comes to my future with cheer, I would love to continue cheering. However, I would like to focus on school for my first year of college to make sure I have time to possibly return to cheer in the future,” she said. “When I think about my future though, working with kids is the first thing that comes to mind. In the meantime, I will be practicing my skills through cheer camps and clinics.”
Congratulations to Awadalla on this truly amazing accomplishment!