Menomonee Falls — Three sisters from Menomonee Falls have a season pass to the sidelines of every Green Bay Packers home football game this season. A pass they have all earned.
Identical triplets and Menomonee Falls High School graduates Leah, Hannah and Gabrielle Buege all landed a spot on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay cheerleading squad, which gives them the chance to cheer on the sidelines of every Packers home game. The Packers do not have their own cheerleading squad so the task is left to the UWGB and St. Norbert College cheerleaders. This is the second year the triplets have made the Green Bay co-ed team.
This will be Leah's first season cheering for the Packers. Though she made the team last year, she had to sit out due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. She has since recuperated from her injuries and is ready for the upcoming season at Lambeau Field. Leah, along with her sisters, made an appearance at the Green Bay Packers Family Night last weekend. They are gearing up to cheer at the first pre-season game Friday when the Packers take on the Arizona Cardinals.
Passion for the sport
The triplets' mother, Chris Buege, wasn't surprised when all three girls went to the same college, and then made the cheerleading team. After all, they have been practicing together since sixth grade after they joined the Menomonee Falls Junior Indians cheerleading squad.
"They all have very good cheerleading skills and they've always had the same interests and done things together," Chris said. "I had confidence in them because my girls know what they want and they go after it."
On top of the responsibilities of college and cheering at Packers events and home games, Leah, Gabrielle and Hannah cheer at every UW-Green Bay men's and women's home basketball games, sometimes attending two games in one day because football and basketball seasons overlap. Despite the demand, their passion for the sport, as well as their sisterly support system, keeps them motivated. Leah said when they are practicing tumbling or a routine, they can critique each other and tell them what areas need improvement, which pushes them to work harder.
Leah said the Menomonee Falls High School cheerleading squad gave them a "competitive edge," that prepared them for their cheer career after graduation. The Falls squad attends a slew of competitions throughout the year.
All three girls practice year-round, keeping physically fit and limber in time for the football season. Before Packers games, the squad runs through the various routines to ensure they only perform the routines that are perfected, Gabrielle said. They also have backup routines in case one is not going well during game time. This way the squad can adjust to a new routine if necessary.
Cheerleading is a mental game. Despite their constant practicing, Packers games can be unnerving as 70,000 people fill the stadium for each home game.
"If you're worried about falling, then you're probably going to fall," Leah said.
The girls have to block out negativity, put their trust in their teammates and practice.
"In practice we go over (routines) enough so you are confident in the skills," Gabrielle said.
During home games, Gabrielle said the squad has to constantly be aware of their surroundings so they don't get hurt by football players or the ball while standing on the sidelines. There is a set of guidelines they follow during games, including a rule saying they can't speak to players. The Packers, Hannah said, have been known to high-five the cheerleaders when they are out on the field warming up for the game, however.
Though the crowd can be intimidating and the life of a college cheerleader demanding, in the end, it's been worth it.
"It's crazy, but it's fun," Hannah said.
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