The End of an Era

Senior Morgan Baisch has been an important piece of the Caledonia cheer team. She has led the student section through eardrum rupturing chants, held human beings up in the air for lengthy periods of time, and has inspired younger cheerleaders who are the future of the team. Participating in sports through the Covid-19 pandemic has not been easy. Students and faculty have been thrown curveballs of all kinds. Despite all of the challenges, Morgan Baisch made it her mission to remain optimistic about the season.

The sideline cheer season started in July and is still going strong, as the football team leads Caledonia to the playoffs. Cheering all four years of high school, Morgan says she definitely felt her freshman year was her favorite season. “I got pulled up to varsity and it was the best feeling ever. I got so close to my teammates and I had never been so happy.” Although Morgan enjoyed her freshman sideline cheer season the most, having the title of a senior was a great feeling too. She emphasized how crazy and surreal it felt to be one of the oldest cheerleaders. With the honor of being a senior came the opportunity of being a captain. Morgan decided to pass on the status. She knew the position of a captain would require seriousness most of the time. Her spunky personality and bubbly character just couldn’t be contained.

The Caledonia cheer team has a reputation for amazing stunts. For both her freshman and sophomore years, Morgan was a flyer: a fearless soul thrown into the air and caught by teammates. She could do a variety of flyer stunting positions: the heel stretch, scorpion, bow, and arrow, needle, etc. Even though Morgan loved flying, she came to the realization that basing was her calling. “I can’t even imagine being a flyer again. I love basing with my whole heart,”  Morgan said. Adjusting to a new position is always terrifying, but Morgan quickly adapted to the change. When autumn rolled around her junior year, Morgan showed off her new set of skills at the football games. As a base, she became the foundation of the stunts, holding up her teammates while they led the crowd in deafening chants.

Morgan’s senior year sideline season has been different than what other seniors have enjoyed in the past. The Covid-19 pandemic has robbed many students of opportunities that only come once in a lifetime. For some, this may mean missing the chance to see your friends in school. For others, missing out on homecoming and possibly prom. For Morgan, this meant she’ll never again experience a student section filled with roaring fans compacted together as she cheers on the football team with her beloved teammates. When asked about how Covid-19 affected her season, Morgan replied, “It truly tore everything apart. They [the student section] make everything feel more fun and make my adrenaline run on a high. I wish everything was back to normal.” Strict rules were implemented about who could attend the football games this fall. Originally, only four family members of the football players and cheerleaders could attend. For the last couple of games, seniors were allowed to go but had to stand six feet apart and wear masks as the cheerleaders tried to hype everyone up and the football team tried to defeat the opposing team. Caledonia tried their best to make everything seem as normal as possible, but for Morgan and the rest of her team, it was devastating.

Above all, Morgan knows the memories she created and the people she met throughout the four years will stick with her for the rest of her life. Morgan even shared about a special person who set the tone for the rest of her cheerleading career. “Someone who made it memorable was my teammate, Ashley Hoholik. She was my base freshman year and she welcomed me to the team with open arms. She shaped me into the person I am today and allowed me to step out of my shell.” Morgan hopes to have done the same for the younger cheerleaders on the team. She believes cherishing every moment is one of the best things the cheerleaders can do. She plans on continuing her cheerleading journey after high school, possibly at Aquinas College.

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