For Samantha Grady, cheerleading is anything but easy. The senior is a base, which means she catches the cheerleaders when they fly through the air.

“You get hit a lot and you can’t just drop your flyer,” she said. “It’s on you if they fall. It’s a lot of pressure.”

Grady started cheering when she was seven, on the Stockton Bears cheer squad. When she got to high school, she knew she needed to try out, and get back on a team.

“Last year was the first year I cheered for Stagg,” she said. “It actually brought my grades up and kept me motivated.”

She refers to herself as a fast learner, and said that she was surprised when she made it on the team.

“There were a lot of girls that tried out,” she said. “Most of the girls went to Odyssey with the coaches. They were good and I didn’t think I would make it.”

Despite the stereotypes placed on cheer, Grady thinks that “people should at least try it and see what [they] do.”

She sees the sport as something more than just tumbling and cheering. For her, it is about spirit, and getting people to have fun at games.

“People picture cheer to be superficial, but it’s different when you are cheering,” she said. “You have to motivate people and get them into the game. You don’t want a dull game. I think that’s pretty important.”