Brooke Kranz gave everything she had to the Staples cheerleading team for four years. A senior captain, Kranz began freshman year when she made the varsity squad.

"I was really excited to make it freshman year and it was a big accomplishment for me," Kranz recalled. "I never expected to make it because I never cheered before."

Growing up, she had a strong background in gymnastics and dance, which helped her thrive as a cheerleader. Kranz began taking gymnastics classes at age 5 but she spent more time in dance and became a solid dancer. When she entered high school, she decided she needed a change.

"I danced for so long and I wanted to try something new and I wanted to be a part of a team at Staples and I always looked up to the Staples cheerleaders," Kranz recalled. "I was nervous because I didn't have a background in cheerleading and I was excited I made it."

The dance moves Kranz learned growing up helped her thrive on the mat for the Lady Wreckers. Playing soccer and softball in her formative years made her more athletic and agile, which helped as well.

As a cheerleader, she served as a base and worked with other bases in holding the flyer, who performed stunts while in the air. Her ability to build bonds and work well with the other bases and her flyer enabled her to succeed in this position.

"It's really challenging because you have to trust your flyers and know she won't hurt you," she said. "You also have to have a good relationship with your stunt group and trust each other."

Lifting a flyer requires strength and built up her power and might through conditioning and doing a lot of pushups.

Leadership is a strength of hers as she served as captain with three classmates. She led by example through her work ethic and verbally by always by encouraging and supporting her teammates.

"It was really a good experience and it was fun leading the team and having a bigger say in what goes on with the team," Kranz said. "The team was closer and the upperclassmen bonded with the freshmen, which helped."

Academically, Kranz is taking two AP courses this year and took three AP courses last year. Math is her favorite subject.

"Cheerleading, from the start, has helped me get better grades," Kranz said. "It taught me to do my homework when I go home and not save it for the last minute."

This fall, she'll attend the University of Michigan and hopes to major in sports marketing. She won't be cheering for the Wolverines.

"I'm looking forward to be in the stands for their football games because I never experienced it before," Kranz said.

Looking back, she will always cherish cheering for Staples, especially her senior year.

"Cheerleading made high school a better experience for me," Kranz said. "I knew older kids as an underclassmen and it helped me out in school. My senior year was the best year because our team was close. We had a good coach and it was our best year."