By KINSEY HISLE – COPY CHIEF
“We are CC!”
Ringing out over the enthusiastic fans, pep band music, and the crunch of football tackles are the Centre Cheerleaders promoting spirit and excitement for the Colonels and the fans. The voices of ten girls and the swish of the pom-poms add to the sounds of Centre Football home games and are an important part of the energetic atmosphere that fans love.
“My favorite part about cheering at Centre is the school spirit aspect. There’s no greater feeling than seeing everyone excited and screaming. The crowd gives off amazing energy to not only the players, but to us as well,” first-year Gianna Gray said.
The Cheerleaders bring to each game a set of 50 cheers and four sideline dances to perform for the fans. The team was able to learn them in a week and a half in order to be prepared for the start of football season. These cheers and sideline dances will be used again in home Men’s and Women’s Basketball games as well.
“For me, it is a great way to break out of my shell,” sophomore Niccole Williams said. “My favorite part about the team is that they are not afraid to say how they feel. I come from a tough love kind of background and it’s great to have girls that understand that and I can be sarcastic with. I also have a very loving coach and passionate captain.”
The team doubled in number of members from last year’s squad. The larger team talents’ have enabled them to add new features to their routines.
“This year we added a lot of first-years that had cheer experience in high school. We’ve tried some different cradles and basket tosses as well as new cheers that the new girls have brought with them,” sophomore and co-captain Hannah Banks said.
The team advertises for member sign-ups at events like EXPO at the beginning of the semester and by word of mouth. Team members bring a variety of experience before joining the Centre Cheerleading team.
“I did dance team in high school and danced at a studio since I was about three. If you had told me before college that I would be a cheerleader, I’d think you were crazy,” sophomore and co-captain Leslie Harrison said.
Since joining the team, she has developed her talents and enjoyed every aspect of it. “Cheer gives me an opportunity to show my pride for my school and allows me to be involved with Football and Basketball,” Harrison said. “I love my school, and I love getting people excited for it.”
Banks heard about the team from a peer on her first-year hall and has loved her time cheering ever since.
“I love being able to support my school in a way that most students don’t get the opportunity. I also just love being right with the action during the games,” Banks said.
To prepare for games, the team has practices during the week and, on football game days, has a team breakfast and gets ready together before heading to the field for stretching, warm-ups, and a pep talk. Performing at the games are the experiences which permit the team to show their talents and school pride.
“I absolutely love the rush of the touchdowns, interceptions, and fumbles. Everyone just gets so excited and you really get to feed off that energy,” Banks said.
For many Cheer members, the Football team singing of the fight song after a great game won is the highlight of the day.
“My favorite part is when the Cheerleaders line up in front of the Football team and we sing the fight song,” Williams said. “I like this part because I feel unity. I look at all my friends on the team and the all either mouth thank you or give me a heads up for supporting them.”
With the first Basketball home game coming up soon, the team is preparing to continue their excellent performances. Some of the new team members joined later and have only performed at one home Football game. Basketball home games will be their chance to cheer on the Colonels with their teammates.
“The fact that [the new girls] are so enthusiastic about the games just really makes me more excited overall for Basketball season,” Banks said.
Looking farther into the future, the team would like to continue to grow and be more recognized by the College.
“Before I graduate, all I want is the school to officially recognize Cheer as an athletic team instead of an organization. If we could accomplish that, then I believe it would really take the team places that it’s never been,” Banks said.
New members share in the drive to improve their talents to continue to grow as a team.
“The Centre Cheerleading team is filled with great girls with a great attitude and a true love for the sport. After cheering with the girls, I noticed that they have the dream and drive to become a more competitive team. I wanted to be a part of a Cheerleading team with high goals again and I wanted to cheer with these girls and help the team move forward,” first-year Kelly Tran said.
Being a part of the Cheerleading team awards its members with leadership opportunities, experience with public performance, and ultimately the support of a strong group of peers.
“It’s had a great impact on my Centre experience,” Banks said. “Since joining I’ve noticed myself become more confident with whom I am and learned about being the leader of a team. It definitely isn’t what I thought it was going to be when I joined, but I’m so thankful to have these girls behind me. We are a giant family.”