In the female-dominated sport of cheering, it can be hard for any one individual to stand out among their squad. Unless, that is, you’re talking about the Brewer High School cheerleading team.
That’s because their 17-year-old leader, Jared Hoxie of Holden, is the only male cheerleader on the team.
“He’s like a one-man boy band,” his dad, Jeff Hoxie, said. “Everyone loves when he goes tumbling.”
Hoxie never took gymnastics growing up, but rather taught himself how to do handstands and execute back flips in his front yard. Now the high school junior is a base, the cheerleader at the bottom of the pyramid or stunt, for the Brewer team.
“People think it’s all pom-poms and side lines, but really it’s a lot of hard work, conditioning, endurance, flipping people in the air and running through routines multiple times,” Jared said. “A lot of it is not what you see on TV. It’s nothing like the ‘Bring it On’ movies at all. It’s really intense and a lot of work.”
Jared began cheering when he was an eighth grader at the Holbrook School in Dedham.
“His first week cheering at Holbrook, he walked in and did a back handspring. The coach later came and told me I had to get him in somewhere because of what he could do,” Jeff said.
Once he moved on to high school, it didn’t take long before his athletic abilities started turning heads.
“Other sports you can slack off on your part and it hurts just you, but in cheering, it’s hurting the whole team because it’s so team oriented,” Jared said.
One of his biggest fans is his grandmother and former Holbrook cheering coach, Nancy Gerow. He’s even become a crowd favorite during regional and state cheering competitions, helping Brewer earn second place at states in 2017.
“He works really, really hard,” his mom, Kristi, said.
“And his head doesn’t get big,” Jeff added. “He takes it all in stride, like ‘I’m just doing my job.’”
He’s also inspired his own peers at rival schools.
“At our last competition the Lewiston cheerleaders asked for pictures with me,” Jared said with a touch of awe.
Jared’s so passionate about his sport that he splits his time between his school team and the Cheer Magic All Star travel team at Big 10 Cheer in Hermon.
“All Stars is year round, so cheering is never not in session for me,” Jared said. “It’s so fun.”
Hoxie hopes to continue cheering in college where he’s looking to study pharmacy.
“On the east coast, there’s all kinds of schools that have co-ed cheering and all kinds that have pharmacy, but nobody has both,” said Jeff.
In the meantime, Hoxie will continue cheering on the Brewer Witches and fine tuning his tumbling skills for whatever the future may hold.
“There’s always a need for more people in cheering. It could be more girls or it could be more boys. But I think more boys could break the stereotype that cheering is just for girls,” Jared said.