The Mustang cheerleaders are well underway in what seems to be yet another season of competition and excitement. The game day and competition squad represent Stevenson in a great way.
Head coach Rachel Smith was once a cheerleader herself at Stevenson University. She is using her position to promote cheerleading’s credibility as a sport. Smith had a few words for the non-believers: “Cheerleading is a sport…workouts are physically demanding and tumbling requires thorough technique to reach perfection.” Much like other sports, she said, cheerleading requires tremendous athletic ability from its participants.
Tumblers who put together difficult flip combinations must be well-coached along with the bases who must be strong and capable to support the stunts. The competitive roster currently consists of 19 student-athletes. The game day roster varies, as there is “much more opportunity for participation in game-day cheering,” Smith said.
During the fall season, the team’s main focus is game-day cheering. Towards the end of October, preparation for competition cheer and the basketball season cheer team begins. No tryout date have been set for the winter teams, but those interested can look forward to tryouts being held sometime at the end of October.
During the winter season the cheer team divides into a competition and a game day squad.
Smith explained that tryouts are held only for the competition team and that game-day cheering, which is a club sport, has an open door for those interested. Routines for game-day cheer are evaluated to see who is absolutely prepared to perform.
To become a member of the competition cheer team, Smith recommends joining tumbling and stunting classes or camps throughout the summer, making sure that competitors are in good shape and exercising.
The competition team meets two times a week for three hours each, sessions in which the team reviews and perfects routines. By competition day, routines must be flawless, so Smith makes sure to send out videos of the routines prior to practice so that the team can be familiar with it.
Contests for the competitive team begin in February and conclude with Nationals in April.