Meredith Amundson was always curious about what it would be like to be a cheerleader.
Yeah, she had seen the cheerleader squad plenty of times while she played softball, volleyball and basketball, but she still wondered if she could do it. So, after some prodding by her cheerleader friends, she gave it a whirl and made the Calvary Chapel squad.
Now, starting her fourth year on the Eagles’ girls’ basketball team and as this season’s captain, Amundson, 17, has come to the realization she would much rather be cheered on, than cheering on.
“Actually, it was pretty hard,” the 5-foot-8 senior said. “There’s a lot of work involved with being a cheerleader. And it was taking a lot of my time. A lot of stuff was suffering because of it. So I made the decision to drop it.”
But, while she’s glad she was a cheerleader, she has no regrets.
“I love basketball,” Amundson said, noting that her favorite shot is the three-pointer. “I love to watch it, especially when Michael Jordan played. It’s a great game. A game you can constantly improve on. Besides, I still do a lot of cheering on for my teammates.”
Amundson, the point guard, said her team may have a chance to reach the playoffs out of the Olympic League. Particularly with Blythe Linsay, the 6-5 senior who was an All-Southern Section selection, on the team.
“Blythe has been having some shoulder problems, and she has not been working as hard as I know she can,” Amundson said. “So I had to talk to her. But she knows.”
But Amundson also knows there are no comparisons between her skills on the court and Linsay’s, who plays club basketball and has her own trainer.
“Blythe is very good,” said David Starr, Calvary Chapel’s coach. “And she’ll no doubt be one of the top recruited players in the county. But Amundson is also critical in that she gets the team up and thinks only of the team.”
This leadership quality, which filters down to the entire team, is one of Amundson’s assets, Starr said.
“Besides being very quick and an excellent ballhandler, Meredith is a very good leader,” Starr said. “Sometimes she leads the teams in drills and workouts. She is always there with words of encouragement and is willing to teach the new kids some things.”
Said Amundson: “Sometimes it’s frustrating. We didn’t do that well last year and there are a lot of girls who are new and just starting to play. But I try to stay motivated.”
Amundson averaged only five points last season, but Starr said that team’s offense revolved around Linsay and Courtney Owens, a sophomore who plays for Calvary Chapel’s volleyball team, which won the Southern Section Division V championship. “This year we hope to have a much more balanced offense,” Starr said. “And that means that Meredith will be shooting much more. And she has a great three-point shot.” Amundson is looking forward to seeing more action, but her main concern is having her team do well.
“That’s probably my main goal. To see the entire team have a good year,” she said.
In any event, Amundson hopes to continue to play basketball in college. Montana and Washington have shown some interest, but she doesn’t seem that concerned about scholarship offers. With a 3.79 grade-point average, she plans to go to college, with or without basketball.