To Muscatine High School 2008 graduate Ashley Sink, cheerleading is more than just a performance. The Muscatine High School Cheerleading Coach believes that the members of her squads are athletes, and she treats them accordingly.

Sink returned to Muscatine after graduating from Coe College in Cedar Rapids. That is when her former coach, Lindsay Reed, approached her to see if she would be interested in taking over the squad. Reed now assists Sink with the program.

Now in her fifth year with the program, Sink says she is hoping to build an atmosphere where the members of the team can be role models to the community, specifically for younger students. “The elementary kids look up to the cheerleaders. They are recognized when they are out in the community, and that is important to our team. We want people to think highly of the team.”

The varsity squad after two grueling days of camp

The varsity squad after two grueling days of camp

Before the team is even formed, Sink is looking ahead to what will make the most well-rounded squad. In addition to skill and potential, members’ attendance records and academic performance is taken into account. “We want students who are willing to work hard and will show up when they are expected to. Attendance and grades are a good indication of that,” Sink says.

Sink says that the traditional image of a cheerleader is not what helps to make a successful one, saying that the squads are made up of students of all shapes and sizes. “The size does not matter as much as the attitude and determination.”

When not working with the cheer squad, Sink is an avid Crossfitter, and in her free time she likes to “eat, sleep and prep for cheer.”

MHS cheerleaders deliver goodie bags to each officer and worker at Muscatine Police Department

MHS cheerleaders deliver goodie bags to each officer and worker at Muscatine Police Department