“Cheerleading’s a sport?!” That’s the response I enthusiastically received when I told MHS Senior Haiya Kofler that she had been chosen as MHS Athlete of the Week. Cheerleading is most definitely a sport, as the 14 girls that compose the squad at Mammoth High School prove on a regular basis at home events where they dance, jump, flip, twist, do stunts, and constantly run around to stir up a bit of school spirit.
Haiya is Captain of the 2013 – 2014 MHS Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheer Squads. The squad, composed of 4 freshman, 1 sophomore, 4 juniors, and 5 seniors, is active during the football season, basketball season, and competition season. This time of year, the girls practice every weekday for home games, and Tuesdays through Fridays for away games. MHS Cheer Director Cindie Wormhoudt told me of the star captain, “She’s not only an outstanding athlete, but an outstanding person. She’s a scholar. Competitive ski racer. Captain of the Varsity Cheer Squad. She does a lot of her own choreography. She does an incredible job teaching the other girls. She was a former dancer.”
Haiya said, “I love cheer, ‘cause I love leading and getting people enthusiastic. I’m out to put more spirit into the campus.” When I asked Haiya about school, she replied with a huge smile, “I like everything. I really enjoy public speaking. I’m a people person. I like talking and I’m a leader.” She said she doesn’t fit the traditional stereotype of the ditzy cheerlead girl often represented in Hollywood cinema.
Haiya has a resume longer than most people twice her age. She is president of the local National Honors Society. This semester, she is a student enrolled not only in Mammoth High School’s Independent Learning Center (ILC), but also Cerro Coso College where she is attending “Two Dimensional Design.” Her course load at the high school includes such classes as AP Statistics, AP English, and AP Economics. Last summer, she attended the Sports and Business Academy at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She was “incredibly honored” to go to this fine and prestigious program that introduced her to the world of sports business negotiations. Haiya will attend “Introduction to Kinesiology” at Cerro Coso next semester, to begin to pursue a career in the sports business world.
“I’m on a quest for greatness,” Haiya smilingly told me. Notre Dame, MIT, Stanford, Brown, and Yale are all schools where she is currently applying. She is considering a sports agent or conditioning coach as a career and likely wants to study kinesiology and communications.
Haiya moved to Mammoth at the start of her sophomore year from Chaminade College Prep in Malibu. Like so many of us, she came here fulltime to ski. Haiya has been a member of the MMSA Junior Teams for six years. She has done a good deal of competitive skiing. This season, she is going to ski for the Mammoth High School Alpine Team. “I like Mammoth a lot,” she said. “It is a big change going from a big school to a small school. But, I love the small town environment.”
Haiya looks up to gymnast Gaby Douglas, “because she has a super crazy work ethic, with the biggest smile on her face.” Ski racer Mikela Shiffrin is also one of Kofler’s favorites. She admires the female ski racer because she did her first World Cup race at age 15.
As for what our local superstar has to share with you: “Work your hardest. Always try your hardest to reach your full potential. Always do what makes you successful and happy. Surround yourself with positive people. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push yourself.”