I.C. West's Austyn Goodale more than 'sparkles and smiles'

HS journalism: A look into the life of a high school cheerleader

Iowa City West spirit squad members cheer during the Class 4A state football semifinal between Iowa City West and Bettendorf at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa City West spirit squad members cheer during the Class 4A state football semifinal between Iowa City West and Bettendorf at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The smell of nachos and hot dogs fill the football stadium. The sound of screaming students and rain is all that is audible. The stands are full of gold and green and people cheering for the football team.

Sophomore Austyn Goodale looks above the crowd and tumbles down in a complex set of turns. She lands and waves with a smile and yells, “Let’s go West” along with the rest of the cheerleaders.

Being a cheerleader isn’t all smiles and pompoms.

“It can be very difficult,” Goodale said. “It isn’t all sparkles and smiles all the time. The mental and physical demands are sometimes a lot for one person.”

Goodale spends her Tuesday and Friday mornings practicing with the other cheerleaders.

For Goodale, cheerleading is a way to relieve the stress brought on by school.

“Although it gets difficult, it’s been a great way to meet new people and get to know them,” she said. “It pushes me to try new things and build up confidence.”

With help from the cheerleaders, the student section at football games always is in high spirits.

“Performing in front of the school used to make me really nervous,” she said. “But when you hear everyone cheering, it makes you feel so much more confident. That confidence makes performing incredible.”

Besides being a cheerleader, Goodale keeps a busy schedule participating in competitive cheer and is a member of the dive team.

“I find that cheerleading really helps with diving,” she said. “My favorite is the forward half spin. It makes me feel like I’m flying.”


But like many high school students, there has to be a balance between school work and extracurricular activities.

“To me, freshman year isn’t too different from junior high,” Goodale said. “We don’t have too much homework or tests. It’s just harder doing so many other things. It definitely gets stressful.”

An energetic cheerleader outside of school, Goodale is just as bubbly in the classroom.

“I definitely am an extroverted person,” she said. “I have a lot to be happy about. But like everyone else, I have bad days where I am in a cranky mood.”

According to Goodale’s best friend, sophomore Riley Fay, Goodale has changed a lot since junior high.

“Back then she was pretty introverted and quiet,” Fay said. “But now she is very comfortable being silly and brings that energy with her everywhere. She puts others before herself. I admire that.”

But even if Goodale does have a bad day, she puts it behind her and gets right back up again.

“Even if I have a bad day, I always like to make other people laugh,” she said. “It makes me happy to see them in a good mood.”

Goodale has a bright future planned.

“I’m interested in the medical field. It would be a great way to help other people,” she said. “Because I’m good with kids, I would love to be a children’s doctor.”

Goodale wants to involve her present hobbies in her future.

“I would love to cheer for the Kentucky football team,” she said. “They are the number one cheer team in the nation.”


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Whatever Goodale decides to do, whether it be cheerleading, diving or becoming a doctor, she plans on “giving it my entire heart and even more.”



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