WEST CHESTER, Ohio - At one time or another, just about every athlete wants to go pro. Tri-State high schools, including Lakota West, produce more than their share of NFL players.
Since she was 6 years old, Delaney Wilder knew she wanted to be a Lakota West cheerleader.
“I used to watch my brother play football here at Lakota West, play basketball. All the time I would be caught watching the cheerleaders, admiring them, and just thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god, I want to be that,’ “ Wilder remembers.
Fast forward a few years later ... she did it, cheering her way through senior year as a Firebird. The foundation laid for her at Lakota West ultimately prepped her for the pros.
"It taught me hard work and, most importantly, it taught me how to be a leader on and off the field," Wilder said.
Wilder is now her second season with the Ben-Gals cheerleaders while balancing a full-time job as a social worker. She is an example for the young women cheerleading today at Lakota West.
“The amount of hard work that they have to put in … that's inspiring," said Campbell Bostick, a Lakota West senior.
Whether the uniform is Lakota West red and black or Bengals orange and black, some things will always be the same.
"I've met my best friends from cheer,” said Lakota West cheerleader Jade Burt, “and, you know, we've gotten so strong and so close … It’s always cool to see how you interact and get your closest friends through sports, so I love that."
“My experience cheering for Lakota West is one I will never forget,” Wilder said. “The atmosphere here is something you want to be a part of, and the sisterhood was really special to me.”