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Raising the bar: Spartan cheerleader named to All-American team

After trying out, Addy Ranta was named to the National Cheerleading Association's All-American team.

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Superior cheer captain Adryiana Ranta, right, and her cheer squad perform at halftime of the homecoming game at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Spartan pride will be showcased on the national stage this year.

Superior High School senior Adriyana “Addy” Ranta, co-captain of the varsity cheerleading squad, has been named to the National Cheerleading Association’s All-American team. As a member, the 17-year-old has the option to perform at a number of events throughout the country, from Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

"As a school district, we are so proud of the hard work Addy has put into her cheerleading career. We are excited for her to represent the Spartans and city of Superior at a national level," said Ella Olson, Superior's director of athletics and activities.

Ranta earned the honor during a three-day cheerleading camp in August. She was nominated for the team, which landed her a tryout.

After spending two days learning new material, she performed a mix of jumps, tumbling and spirit (hyping up the crowd). Of the 19 athletes from Two Harbors, Superior, Chanhassen and Proctor who participated, Ranta received the highest score.

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Superior cheerleader Addy Ranta, left, shares a smile with her coach Andria Murphy as they walk in front of the crowd during Staff Appreciation Night before the Spartans game with Rice Lake at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Her mother encouraged the teen to reach for the stars and attend some of the All-American events, despite the cost. The family is responsible for travel expenses, as well as hotel stays and the cost of uniforms for each event. The senior’s goal is to represent SHS at the Dec. 7 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade and, if possible, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade.

“It’s just an amazing experience overall, and you get to meet lots of new people and, I mean, getting to perform at something like that is huge, especially for the cheer community,” Ranta said.

With family support, she’s begun raising funds for the opportunity through food truck sales, a GoFundMe page and silent auction donations. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to meet athletes from throughout the country and learn with the best, she said, as well as a unique experience to add to her resume. The senior also aims to raise the profile of cheerleading at SHS.

“Cheer is a sport. Like, we’re not just dancing and yelling. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. We do hours of practice, just like any other sport. And we put in a lot of work to try and make our crowd happy and get them engaged in the games,” she said.

This year, the team has added a new stunt, the fallback. The move involves having a cheerleader stand on top of two teammates and fall backwards. Two additional teammates wait behind to push the cheerleader back up into a standing position. It involves precise force and positioning to do safely, which takes a lot of practice.

Ranta's path to cheerleading began when she didn’t make the volleyball team her freshman year. She tried out for cheer, and made it. The team has been part of her high school career ever since.

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“It’s a great experience. You make lots of new friends, and those are friends that you’re going to have for a long time,” Ranta said.

Because they are out in front of the crowd on a regular basis, cheerleaders meet a lot of people.

“I know it gave me a lot of confidence, having to go out there in front of everybody. So that’s a great thing,” Ranta said. “And you’ll learn a lot. Not just about cheer, but about family and what it means to be a team and just all the values like that.”

The pandemic sidelined cheerleading for most of last school year, although the team was able to perform during the spring football season. As a co-captain this year, Ranta said her goal was to have fun, bring the team together and recreate the kind of family atmosphere she remembered from her freshman year.

“I just wanted to get that back in there and make everybody feel welcome, and just make cheer a fun and positive environment,” Ranta said.

Tryouts for the winter cheerleading season take place Oct. 25-28, she said.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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