The Mustang cheerleaders wrapped up another year of tryouts for the competition team on Nov. 6 and are preparing to travel to nationals in April.
A team of 17 was carefully selected from what head coach Rachel Smith called a “huge turnout.”
Stevenson University has two units within its cheer program. Smith coaches the competitive cheer team as well as the game-day team, which focuses its efforts on bringing spirit to Stevenson’s other athletic teams.
Smith noted that competitive cheer and game-day cheer are “two completely different worlds.”
“Game-day team allows anyone with some cheer experience to learn the basics of college cheer… but competitive cheer is much more advanced in regards to the stunting and tumbling,” she explained.
Four of the 17 competitive squad members are also members of the game-day squad but are taking time off to train throughout the winter for competition that starts in March.
In addition to competitions, the cheer squad will participate in two exhibitions. Towson University will host one event for all the cheer teams in Maryland going to Nationals, and another event will be held at Stevenson University on President’s Day.
The Mustang cheer squad has gone to regionals the past six years out of the eight since the induction of the squad. The road to regionals appears assured, since Smith thinks this year’s team is their strongest yet.
Smith was once a cheerleader at Stevenson University and continues to use her position to validate cheerleading as a sport.
In a Villager interview earlier this year, Smith said, “Cheerleading is a sport…workouts are physically demanding and tumbling requires thorough technique to reach perfection.” Just like any other sport, she said, cheerleading requires exceptional athletic prowess from its teams.
To join the competition cheer team, Smith recommends students prepare by enrolling in tumbling and stunting courses or camps throughout the summer.