LARAMIE -- Have you ever wondered what the story is behind the University of Wyoming’s Spirit Squad?

Who are they? Where are they from? What they do?

The UW Cheerleaders, and Wyoming mascot, Pistol Pete, have a great time supporting UW athletics and showcasing their skills at various sporting events, as well as making appearances throughout the community and all over the great state of Wyoming.

During the football season, 7220sports.com’s DJ Johnson will bring you the segment “Spirit Spotlight," highlighting some of the athletes that make it all happen.

 

Name: Abby Holbrook

Hometown: Broomfield, Colorado

School Year: Senior

Major: Nursing

Spirt Squad Year: Fourth

 

7220sports: After missing -- well, at least being extremely limited in performances in 2020 -- what is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to your feelings about being on the sidelines for the home opener at War Memorial Stadium?

Abby: I was super excited and happy for multiple reasons. Obviously, I’m happy just to be back on that field because there’s no better feeling than being out on that field cheering and rooting on the Cowboys. I was also happy to have that feeling of being back to some type of normal because obviously during COVID-19 we were going in cycles and it felt as if we were never going to go back to what it was before. So, having that feeling back was pretty awesome."

 

7220sports: Given the fact that last year was pretty much a wash, what did you personally do to stay busy and maintain your level of commitment and motivation?

Abby: One thing that I did that I had never done before was actually get a gym membership because I never really had time to do that. Getting that membership actually increased my motivation a lot because I started to enjoy working out for myself, which then led to me enjoying it for the team, as well. I also spent a lot of time just getting to know people more because we didn’t have the cheer aspect to fall back on. We just had all of our teammates, so it was really nice to get to know everyone outside of cheer.

 

7220sports: What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of cheer?

Abby: Well, since I got that gym membership last year, I really started working out and that pretty much became a hobby for me. I also really enjoy the outdoors – hiking, boating and reading. I actually started reading Harry Potter. I really enjoyed the movies and decided that I couldn’t be a real fan if I didn’t read the books, so then I just started reading all of them.

 

7220sports: Regarding cheer, what is the best piece of advice you have received from a coach, mentor or teammate?

Abby: I was actually a gymnast growing up. Before college, I once had a coach tell me to use my nerves in a positive way rather than using them in a negative way, because you can’t get rid of nerves. They’re always going to be there. So, if you use them as adrenaline rather than allowing them to take you down a notch, it’ll help a lot. So, I’ve actually taken that into gamedays.

 

7220sports: What professional athlete do you look up to as a role model and why?

Abby: Shawn Johnson, the 2008 Olympic gymnast. One of the reasons I’ve looked up to her was because we had the similar gymnast look. So when I was watching her, I felt very relatable to her. And obviously I looked up to her because she was really good at what she did.

 

7220sports: Do you have any pre-game superstitions? You know, those weird things that only you understand or do for reasons unknown to others?

Abby: Actually, I do. I don’t untie my cheer shoes and only slip them on and off while the laces remain tied. Now, it was a little bit different this year because we got new shoes, so I had to start the superstation all over again. So, when we got out new shoes I had to tie them for the first time and I now continue to keep them laced up and slide them on and off or every practice and gameday.

 

7220sports: What clubs, teams or other extracurricular activities are you involved in at UW?

Abby: Well, cheer takes up most of my time but I am a member of the Student Nurses Association and Student Mobilization (StuMo). StuMo’s purpose is to build spiritual leaders from the college campuses of the world. The Student Nurses Association is a student-led organization and one of my fellow classmates leads it. She’s the president. We meet once a month and the upperclassmen lead the lowerclassmen. As members, we have to participate in two social events and one volunteer event per year. It’s a great opportunity where all of the nursing students can come together and socialize and get to know each other better.

 

7220sports: What's your technique for memorizing and teaching yourself new cheers before an upcoming game?

Abby: Repetition and practice – those are the big things – especially for the main routines like Ragtime Cowboy Joe, the Cotton Eye Joe and of course our fight song. For those, you just have to put the beginning of the music in your mind to get in the mindset of what you need to get ready to do. Now, for our sideline dances, we have specific names for those and it’s kind of hard to transition from gymnastics to cheer and switch gears between them. I’m also a captain during gameday, so I have to call the dances and one thing we do to memorize those is develop a unique type of clap before each difference dances. So even if we’re unsure of what we’re about to do, we can usually determine what the dance is based on the clap that the team is doing.

 

7220sports: If I gave you two plane tickets to anywhere in the world, where would you go, who would you take and why?

Abby: New Zealand. I would take my older sister, Sarah. New Zealand has always been a place that both her and I have wanted to go together. I think it would be so cool so see that area and culture.

 

My favorite food is: Tomatoes

My favorite restaurant is: Born in a Barn

My favorite things to wear: Hoodie and leggings

My favorite music artist is: Eminem

My favorite UW player is: Andrew Wingard

Beach or mountains: Mountains

Describe Laramie in five words: Safe, tight-knit, loyal fans, Cowboys and unique

The only thing I can't live without: Family

My favorite thing about a Wyoming football game day is: The Cowboy Walk

Can you ride a horse? I have, but I won't say that I can

Favorite quote: “Tough times never last, but tough people do!” - Dr. Robert H. Schuller

To keep up with Abby, you can follow her on her Instagram @abbyholbrook26

UW vs. NIU September 11, 2021