Contributed photo/Stacey Rude
                                From l-r: Emily Walters, Ashland Vizenor, Hailey McCutcheon, Jordyn McCutcheon, Arlyn Sanabria, Stella McCauley, Layla Embler, Salud Soto.

Contributed photo/Stacey Rude From l-r: Emily Walters, Ashland Vizenor, Hailey McCutcheon, Jordyn McCutcheon, Arlyn Sanabria, Stella McCauley, Layla Embler, Salud Soto.

Friday Harbor High School cheerleaders build up players, and themselves | Sports preview

For the Friday Harbor High School football cheerleaders, C-H-E-E-R spells strength.

“My No. 1 goal with every girl I coach is to uplift them as young women,” said coach Stacey Rude. “I want them to feel strong, I want them to feel a part of something, to feel included [and] able to stand on their own.”

The eight girls that make up the varsity cheer squad will travel to all nine of the football team’s season games – whether home or away.

Captains Jordyn McCutcheon, a senior, and Arlyn Sanabria, a junior, will lead the team of three seniors, two juniors and three freshmen. The entire squad – including seniors Ashland Vizenor and Salud Soto, junior Stella Mccauley and freshmen Layla Embler, Hailey McCutcheon and Emily Walters – are ready to represent purple and gold this fall.

“We are really looking forward to the 2018 football season,” said Rude.

Rude, who grew up in Friday Harbor, has coached the team for six seasons, and previously coached the younger Tigers football cheerleading squad as well.

“It is the most rewarding thing I do,” she said. “I really enjoy watching the girls learn not only about cheer, but about the sports they are cheering for, and most importantly learning about themselves.”

This fall, the ladies will pump up both Wolverines players and fans, while also proving that the squad stands as a team on their own.

“I want to change the stereotype [about cheerleaders],” said Rude. “These are smart, talented young women.”