The Bulldogs' varsity cheerleading squad is doing more than tossing pom poms into the air these days. They can now toss the girls, thanks to the guys.

SHS seniors Josh Jahnke and Dustin Baker have brought a bit of strength and gymnastics to the cheerleading squad. And as a result the team can tackle more complex stunts.

Both guy cheerleaders were asked to jump on board when the squad caught wind of their flipping abilities.

Josh was cornered first by the team.

"We saw how Josh could backflip and thought it would be cool to have a boy on the squad," said Toi Herring, who has been a cheerleader for several years.

After enduring begging and pleading from the girls, Josh finally gave in and became the first guy cheerleader in Suwannee Bulldog history.

"Josh is the first boy ever (to be on the squad)," said Jillian Buchanan, who has cheered all through high school. "It helps with stunts and they are really loud ... when they want to be."

"I've been in gymnastics for many years," said Josh. "This is my third year cheering."

Dustin, who has also been involved in gymnastics, came on board next. He is in his second year of cheering.

"When he first got started, all Josh could do was flip. We had to teach him everything else," said Toi with a laugh. "Dustin was easier to work with because he has born talent."

"The amount of stunts they can do is amazing," said varsity cheerleading sponsor Ashley Lundy. "The guys are much stronger and physically more able to lift. The squad could only handle a few basic stunts before."

One such stunt is a basket toss, where cheerleaders are tossed into the air. The squad also does flicks, where a guy throws a cheerleader on up his shoulders.

Cheerleaders went to an endurance camp and a cheer camp this summer. Jillian said the endurance camp was very challenging this year.

In the past couple of years the SHS cheering squad has been competition-oriented. They had the opportunity to compete in Gainesville and Ocala. This year, focusing on school spirit and crowd involvement will be highlighted.

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