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By Nathan Pace
While her rookie season has come to an end, the lone Indianapolis Colts cheerleader from the Southside, Vanessa Wahl, is still dancing. Wahl, a 2014 Center Grove graduate, is in her first season coaching her former dance team.
“I don’t think I will ever be able to fully explain how much this year has meant to me,” she said. “I never thought I would be a Colts cheerleader, and this season has exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I’ve made so many friends and connections.”
Wahl was on Center Grove’s dance team for four years and captain for three. She had the added pressure of having her mother, Hannah Mueller, as her coach.
“She expected a lot out of me, and I always wanted to do my best for her. She didn’t hand out compliments, and whenever I received a ‘good job’ from her I knew it was genuine.”
The experience inspired Wahl to pursue dance after high school, and she moved to California to build her career. While switching from the Hoosier State to the Golden State would be an upgrade for some, Wahl soon learned it was not the right fit.
“When I was in California I felt like a part of me was missing,” she said. “I missed teaching and sharing my passion for dance. I called my mother and told her how I felt and she offered me a coaching position for the high school team and Center Grove Middle School North and Central. My mother mentioned trying out for the Colts, and that became my new goal once I moved back.”
As she carries on the tradition set fourth by her mom, Wahl hopes her students learn the same traits she picked up from her.
“I hope my students learn to never miss a chance to dance. I feel so blessed to say that dance is my passion and my talent. I dance for God, my mother, myself and for those that can’t dance. Not everyone has the same opportunities, and I am so thankful for all that I have been given. My way of giving back to the community is my dancing.”
In addition to cheering for the Colts, she represents the organization at events through out the season and volunteers to help schools with their dance squads.
“I don’t have any down time during the week, but I would rather be busy than bored.”
Wahl was able to take part in her first calendar shoot with the team in the Dominican Republic, where she posed with parrots and a 45-pound albino python.
“At first I was nervous but the longer I held him, the more we both calmed down,” she said. “Now whenever I’m nervous or scared about a situation, I always tell myself, ‘I’ve modeled with a snake, I can do anything.’ I had an amazing shoot for my rookie year. Maybe next year I can model with some more animals. My dream is to model with an elephant.”
Wahl plans to continue cheering for the Colts for as long she can and is assisting in recruiting for next season’s tryouts.
“I love dance team and coaching so I want to continue with that. My next goal is to work toward coaching a college dance team and then to hopefully make my way into coaching or assisting an NFL cheer team.”