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Cheerleading club gets recognition they deserve

by Shelby Toth - News Editor
Tue, Apr 10th 2018 09:05 pm
The College at Brockport's club cheerleading team (above) gets together for a photoshoot. The team traveled to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the national Big Kiss Championship where it placed first and won the College Championship.
The College at Brockport's club cheerleading team (above) gets together for a photoshoot. The team traveled to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the national Big Kiss Championship where it placed first and won the College Championship.

The College at Brockport’s club cheerleading team might be recognizable alongside the school mascot, Ellsworth the Eagle, as it cheers the Golden Eagles to victory, but it is also making a name for itself outside of the college.

On Saturday, April 7, the cheer team took to the road and traveled to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the national Big Kiss Championship.

At the competiton, the team placed first, and won the College Champion award, as well as the Best Stunts and Pyramids.

While this isn’t the team’s first competition of the year, as it’s competed once before, competing at a national level is the major desire.

“We’ve been working to go to different national [competitions] just to see the different competition, so this is just another step in the process,” senior and captain of the team Danielle Arica said. “Eventually, we want to make it down to the National Cheerleaders Association Collegiate (NCA) Nationals down in Florida, so this is just giving us different score sheets from different judges that we can compare when we get to that point in a few years.”

Cheerleading, by nature, has never been a sport shown much respect. While people argue adamantly for either side, and a conclusion is hardly ever settled on, the amount of practice and dedication teams like the Brockport Cheerleading club have is nothing to scoff at.

Arica estimates herself putting in 20 to 30 hours a week on new routines and “putting it down” alone, on top of the team meeting three times a week for two hours each time as well as attending the various football and basketball games the team cheers at.

“We’ve been practicing since the second week of school, we practice all year round which I feel like people don’t really know,” freshman Kennedy Light said. “But we’ve been working all year, working on our stunts, learning our routine and getting prepped. This is really our big competition of the year, so everything has been leading up to this.”

Noted by freshman Amanda Margarum as well, the team spends a fair amount of hours together practicing. This does come with its own benefits.

“We have put in a lot of hours of work in the gym,” Margarum said. “All the girls on the team, they’re hard workers. We’ve really bonded in the last few weeks, getting ready for nationals, and I think we have a really good chance to do well.”

As for how this work has paid off, many on the team felt positive.

“This season has been one of our more successful seasons,” Arica said. “We’ve increased our skill level a lot, so we’re more competitive in the level six field, which is what college teams typically are.”

Cheyenne Brown-Wallace, a junior on the team, agreed that the team was doing well this season.

“The team has worked really hard to get to where we are right now,” Brown-Wallace said. “We all come from different schools, so where some of us were more advanced in New York state than others, it’s different to put them all together.”

She also spoke a bit on the team’s mindset.

“Our team mentality, it definitely differs depending on who you are as an athlete,” Brown-Wallace said. “I think most of us are on the same page as to ‘we want to do this, we want to go out this weekend, we want to work hard’ … we’re definitely motivated to have a flawless routine, or as close to flawless as we can make it.”

While the team may struggle with its perception from other students, and its lack of recognition by the athletics department, it doesn’t discourage the team from giving its seasons everything it’s got. If all goes well for the team, it will hopefully see a trip to the NCA Nationals sometime in the future.

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