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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Cheerleading Club makes abrupt comeback

Have no fear, Guilford College sports fans: the cheerleading team has reemerged. Growing in size, talent and versatility, the newly assembled team is ready to bring Quaker spirit back to Guilford athletics.

“They bring an extra spark to the game,” said junior linebacker Rampage Smith. “The cheers help bring life to the crowd.”

In comparison to recent years, many aspects of the team have changed, like the addition of new members, the emphasis on dance, the absence of coaches and their classification as a club.

“We figured we had more opportunities as a club than an athletic team, and we wanted it to be student-led,” said sophomore and cheer team captain Abbie Gregory in an email interview. “We had already been dropped from the athletics department over the summer, so becoming a club sport was the only way to go.”

Since advisors are necessary for all clubs, Gregory approached Assistant Dean of Career and Community Learning Alan Mueller last spring.

While Mueller does not have cheerleading experience, he does understand leadership, so he agreed to take the position.

Along with advising the cheer team, Mueller is working on restarting the pep band, and he plans to unify the groups.

“One of the reasons I agreed is because we (the pep band) play at most of the home basketball games, and the cheerleaders play, too, so it’s natural to be collaborating,” said Mueller. “But you’re not going to see me doing flips.”

In transition to a club, the team lost their coaches. As the only remaining member from last year, Gregory stepped up as captain. She leads practices and calls out routines during performances.

The team has increased to 12 women compared to last year’s five. Of the current roster, seven are first-year students while five are sophomores.

They are still open to new members, especially men who can assist in partner stunts.

“We have a lot of freshmen who are really excited about supporting sports and supporting our school,” said sophomore cheerleader Dakota McHenry.

A few team members have previous cheer experience, while others have backgrounds in dance. This motivated Gregory to transform the squad into a dance-cheer hybrid.

“During practice, we do any number of activities from working on jumps, reviewing chants, learning new chants and learning new eight-count dances,” said Gregory.

Stunts are introduced during practice, but due to their lack of coaching staff, the team must draw from their most skilled teammates’ past experiences.

“It’s kind of like doing a trust-fall exercise,” said sophomore cheerleader Valerie Denogean. “You have to trust them if you’re going to let them push you up into the air.”

So far, the team has performed at four home football games and will continue performing at home games. Unfortunately, their lack of funding makes traveling to away games difficult. Moving forward, they hope to perform at both men’s and women’s sporting events.

“My favorite part of performing is seeing a lot of representation from the Guilford community united and excited about the game,” said first-year cheerleader Jocelyn Foshay in an email interview. “It’s awesome to feel the energy of the crowd and see all of them come support our team.”

While highly successful in operation, the team has faced some difficulties in terms of money, uniforms and equipment.

Due to a strict budget, they did not have enough money to buy new uniforms and are currently using uniforms procured from past seasons. The team would also benefit from more practice mats.

Still, the cheerleading team was able to get back on their feet this season after losing three of their five members to graduation. The team’s existence can be credited to Gregory, who began devising a plan to make the team possible in March.

“I’m really proud of us,” said Gregory. “We’ve come a long way since the beginning of this year and last year.

“There wasn’t going to be a cheerleading program unless we made it happen.”

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