Vanessa Wahl Chosen as Indianapolis Colts 2022 Pro Bowl Cheerleader

Vanessa Wahl Chosen as Indianapolis Colts 2022 Pro Bowl Cheerleader

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Earning a space on the NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleaders Squad is the crowning achievement for any National Football League cheerleader. Out of hundreds of talented women, only one from each team is chosen. For Center Grove alum and Indianapolis Colts cheerleader Vanessa Wahl, that honor was bestowed in epic fashion during the December 18 Colts versus New England Patriots game.

Initially presented as an in-game promotion with Vanessa presenting the prize, it was soon revealed that the prize, in fact, was for none other than Vanessa herself. Everyone’s attention turned to Lucas Oil Stadium’s video screens as Hannah Mueller, Vanessa’s Mother and former dance coach, delivered the exciting news via a pre-recorded video clip. The entire presentation was captured on video (which has since gone viral) and clearly displays Vanessa’s surprise and emotions.

“At first, I thought my boyfriend was proposing,” Wahl says. “Then I saw my mom on the screen and it started to sink in that something really big must be happening.”

This is her fifth year as a Colts cheerleader and second year as a captain.

“I truly love every aspect of the Colts cheerleading team,” she says. “I’ve had so many amazing opportunities to dance, get involved in the community and find a close-knit group of friends. My favorite takeaway is the relationships I’ve built. I’ve met my closest friends and found my coaches to be my mentors.

“I also really enjoy what this organization stands for. I believe in the charities they support and how personable they are.”

Kelly Tilley, Director of Cheerleading for the Indianapolis Colts, explains the selection process for NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleader.

“Pro Bowl selection for our team is done by a team vote,” Tilley says. “The squad looks for someone who embodies our team’s values and who will best represent Colts Cheer at such a marquee event as the Pro Bowl.

“Not only has Vanessa dedicated a lot of time to Colts Cheer, but she also has a huge passion for this squad. She has been an integral part of our uniform design and leadership team. Vanessa is an incredibly talented dancer that can memorize choreography in less than 10 seconds but most impressive is the time she dedicates to being a good friend to her teammates.”

‘“Hard working” and “dedicated” are traits echoed by Mueller.

“I had the pleasure of being Vanessa’s dance teacher and dance team coach as she was growing up,” she says. “I was hard on Vanessa and made her earn her placement just like everyone else. She was hands down the hardest working dancer I ever had. Vanessa has high standards and expects the same from her teammates. She just makes everything better.”

Preparation started shortly after the announcement. Dance routines and cheers were sent via email and are expected to be learned by the time the ladies arrive in Las Vegas, the location of the Feb. 6, 2022 Pro Bowl.

“We have all made a group chat and are already having a blast!” Vanessa says.

“Ever since my first season, when my captain became that years’ Pro Bowl Cheerleader, I have wanted it,” she adds. “Not for the title but for everything that it encompasses. I wanted to be a good teammate, strong performer, give back to my community, be a leader and pour my heart into this team and program. To have this vision come to life is something I’m very proud of. I hope I’ve made my team proud.

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