Katie Emmert and Hannah Gregory are seniors at Columbus East and co-captains of the varsity cheerleading squad.

When did you start cheering?

Katie Emmert: I started cheering in fifth grade, in elementary school, and I’ve been cheering since then.

What drew you to cheering as opposed to some other activity?

Hannah Gregory: I was moving to (Columbus from Seymour), and I was looking for a hobby or something to get into, and there was an ad for a competitive cheer team, so I went out. I started young, and once I started going and getting into it, I just really fell in love with it because of all the competitiveness and the complexity of all the skills you have to have.

Do you need to have a background in gymnastics to cheer?

Emmert: I don’t think so, especially at East. I don’t do any tumbling, and I’ve been on varsity since I was a sophomore.

What is your favorite sport to cheer for?

Emmert: East is probably more of a football school, but we really love both (football and basketball). I love cheering for both sports.

You mentioned the competitive nature of cheering. Is there really much competition between different schools’ squads?

Gregory: There’s always that thought in your head — I want to look better than that other school. I want my motions to be tighter, I want my jumps to be higher, I want our stunts to hit harder. There’s definitely competitiveness.

Is that especially intense between East and Columbus North?

Katie Emmert: I’d say there’s always competition between East and North, no matter what it’s in. I’d say we’re good friends with all of them — it’s just when it comes down to it, everybody wants to be the better school.