Switzerland County senior Annabelle Bear had an exciting weekend — one that could lead her to big cheers in the Big Ten.
Bear, a four-year member of the Switzerland County varsity cheerleading squad in addition to other competition squads, has been offered a spot on the co-ed cheerleading squad at Purdue University.
“On Friday I missed school because I had to be in Westfield for the tryouts at a gym,” Annabelle said. “I was there from around noon until 9 p.m. I only stayed that one night, because over the weekend I had an All Star Cheer competition that I needed to be at and the judges said that they had all that they needed from me.”
Bear said that the judges made their first round of cuts at 10:30 p.m. Friday night — and she made it through the first round.
“I wasn’t expecting to make the cut, really, because I wasn’t expecting to even make the team, so I just didn’t think I was good enough.”
The process of going through the tryouts actually began prior to last Friday.
First Annabelle had to submit a video for the judges to evaluate. Once those evaluations were complete, the judges awarded a small number of bids — with only those cheerleaders who received a bid being invited to Westfield for the in person tryouts.
Annabelle received her bid in September of last year.
She said that on the co-ed side (Purdue also has an all-female cheer squad; but the co-ed squad does the lifting and more technical stunts) there were about 30 participants — including both returners to the squad and first timers — and usually only 10 males and 12-13 females make the team.
“I got an email around 1 p.m. on Saturday that I had made the second round of cuts,” she said. “I was really excited. I was like, ‘Whoa! There’s no way I just made the second round of cuts’, because I didn’t even expect myself to make the first round of cuts. And then, at around 5 p.m. Saturday evening is when I got an email saying that I was officially a co-ed Purdue cheerleader. It was very exciting.”
Bear said that the squad performs and competes the entire year, as the team is not sport/season specific.
So what’s next? Some big decisions.
“I haven’t yet decided on what college I want to go to,” she said. “Morehead (University in Kentucky) is still an option. I’ve been talking to the coach and he told me that I have a solid chance of making the team down there. I also got a bid to try out at the University of Kentucky, but that’s not really an option.”
Annabelle said that Morehead has both a co-ed and an all-female team, just like Purdue; and that she will go through try outs there on May 20th-23rd — with their decision coming on the night of the 23rd.
“Those two schools are my only options,” she said.
Outside of cheering at Switzerland County, Bear is a cheerleader at River Power Athletics, which is located on Warsaw, Kentucky; which is a Level 3 senior team and includes girls from Gallatin and Switzerland counties. She also does co-ed stunting private lessons with an alum of the Morehead cheerleading squad, which she’s been doing for about four years.”
“It’s very intense,” she said. “I do that at Premier Athletics in Erlanger, Kentucky. Usually I go to him one to three times a week. I go to River Power Athletics twice a week — I’m a busy person.”
After all the work she’s put in is now paying off, she has many thank yous to share with those who have helped her along the way. She points to her coaches throughout her high school career; her coaches at River Power Athletics and Premier Athletics; her stunt team partner; and all those girls who she has cheered with along the way.
“And also my parents for supporting me in all of this,” she said. “Taking me all of the places that I’ve needed to go in order to do all of this.”
At college, Annabelle plans on majoring in elementary and special education. She is the daughter of T.R, and Lindy Bear, and the sister of Clayton. The family lives on Tapps Ridge.