Nine cheerleaders return and with them returns plenty of school spirit.
The Blue Earth Area football cheerleadering squad will consist of 12 girls nine returning and three new to the squad.
Last year the squad ended the season filled with Buc pride after the football team's success.
The 2013 Blue Earth Area Cheerleading squad includes, front, left to right: Melanie Schneider, Brittany Rochefort, Adri Dulas and Kelsey Welsch.
Middle; Hannah Oppedal, Jennifer Quintero and Emily Hynes. Top:?Zoe Thompson. Not pictured:?Maddie Jenkins, Cibriana Juarez, Angie Cyphers and Sami Welsch.
The cheerleaders also ended the season with strong arms and sore muscles thanks to their conditioning at practices and a little game day tradition.
Every time the football team scored, the cheerleaders would drop and do pushups for each point the Bucs had. By the end of last season the girls had done more than 1,400 pushups.
"I'm excited for those pushups again this season,"?says Emily Hynes, a returning senior cheerleader. "Let's get the football team to get us to do more than 1,500 this year."
The squad will be prepared to do more pushups on game days thanks to their two practices each day one in the morning and one at night.
Rachel Kienitz will coach the squad this year, without an assistant coach, and she says the football team won't be the only ones in competition this year.
The cheerleaders had a goal of doing competitions last year. So, this year they will be.
"We are doing the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association's (MCCA) Cheer Off this year," Kienitz says.
The cheer off takes place on Sept. 12 at Concordia University.
"This will evaluate the girls' school song, large group cheer and a game-situation cheer,"?she explains.
And, there will be a different competition going on between squad members.
Well, it's not technically a competition, but there will be an interview process to decide which senior is best suited for the job of squad captain.
"They will submit essays, teach the squad cheers and a dance routine. Then I will interview each one before I make my decision," Kienitz explains.
It is a bit of a new concept for the cheerleaders.
"I have never had captains before,"?Kienitz explains.
But, since Kienitz is without an assistant coach the captain will help be the contact to the rest of the squad during the school day.
The selection process may be a bit more challenging than one might think.
"These girls' leadership skills are huge," Kienitz says.
That will be one major strength this fall, according to the cheer coach. It already shows as the squad plans and organizes several events for the season.
The girls will host the tailgating party for the first home game as well as the homecoming game.
Then, on Sept. 14 they will branch out to the community as they host a cheer clinic.
"The cheerleaders organize the clinic and teach the cheers, chants and dances," Kienitz says.
Then the children participating in the clinic will perform during the home football game on Sept. 20.
While the Buc cheerleaders have many strengths which they have already been using to prepare for the upcoming football season, they have some things they want to improve on.
With the number of people they have on the cheerleading team, they are excited to branch out with their stunting.
"With 12 girls, we have a good solid three stunt groups,"?the coach says.
The girls hope to improve their current stunts and work their way up to doing a basket toss a stunt that involves tossing a flyer into the air to be caught by the bases.
Other goals for the season include improving crowd motivation and learning some tumbling.
"Eight of these girls cheered together last year so they also hope to continue to improve team bonding,"?Kienitz says.
The squad is planning to get together outside of practices and spend time before games getting ready together.
So even though it's been nearly a year, the cheerleading squad is still riding the wave of Buc Pride acquired from last football season, hoping they can improve even more.