We woke up at 4:30 a.m. to be at the old wrestling gym at 5 a.m. every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. We practiced until 6:30 in the unheated, chalky old gym with no mats. On Mondays and Wednesdays, we ran a few miles in the afternoon before joining other athletes in the weight room. We had a two-hour run-through at the stadium on Friday, then on game day Saturdays we started performing for alumni tailgates two hours before kickoff, cheered a full game, then returned home around dusk. That was outside of competition season.
We were called many things: Cheerleaders, pom-pom girls, song leaders. Just not athletes.