On the night of Aug. 23, 17 students endured a rigorous three-hour cheerleading clinic in the Calgaard Gymnasium to determine who earned a spot on Trinity’s cheerleading team.
The clinic was mandatory for anyone who wanted to cheer this year, including members of last year’s team.
The women went through stations covering conditioning, jump techniques and motion techniques while Leviticus Weaver, head cheerleading coach, and Zoe Heeter, junior cheer captain, monitored their every move.
“We pick our members based on what we have taught them, and how well they pick the information up,” Heeter said. “We also look at spirit and attitude, so it’s really an overall evaluation.”
Weaver had to make some cuts before settling on a squad of 18 members.
At the end of last year, the team only had four returning members. Junior cheerleader Gina Butala understood why many of her former teammates left.
“Being an athlete at Trinity is a big commitment because learning how to balance education and involvement in a sport is challenging,” Butala said. “As in any sport, it takes a lot of endurance to balance it all mentally and train your body properly.”
Even if the team hadn’t received 14 new members, Heeter wouldn’t worry about the team’s ability to perform throughout the season.
“Being a cheerleader is dependent on individual effort and work. For example, we could have a team of 20 girls and not be able to cheer at football games if no one learns the material,” Heeter said. “On the other hand, you could have a team of six that could be really strong if everyone puts in the effort. Numbers should never affect our ability to do our job. It’s more about how much effort you are willing to put in.”
The cheerleading teams attend all home games for both men’s and women’s basketball and football. They support Trinity’s other sports teams when their schedules work together.
It is no secret that Trinity home games typically generate lackluster turnouts of fans. The cheerleading team has developed multiple tactics to produce the best game atmosphere.
“Getting involvement from the fans can be difficult at times for any sport, as they are all different, however the cheer team has a variety of game day cheers and chants to appeal to the crowd to involve them in the game,” Weaver said. “There is a 50 — 50 split when it comes to the cheerleaders job revolving around fans. The cheerleaders are there to encourage and support the athletes as well as to build the fans’ excitement for the team.”
Surprisingly, the cheerleading team has found that the number of fans who attend doesn’t determine the atmosphere of the game.
“We have had games with tons of fans and no one follows along, as well as games with just a few who really get into it,” Heeter said. “Our goal is to get the fans involved, but we can still cheer on our teams regardless.”
Cheerleading is a large time-commitment and demands much of the body, according to Heeter’s description of their workout routines.
“Our workouts are hard, and they really push you physically, but it always prepares us for our job,” Heeter said. “Tumbling requires a lot of strength and agility, jumps require flexibility and stunting requires strength, focus and trust.”
The cheerleaders must deal with the unforgiving Texas heat like all other outdoor sports.
“The hardest part is training yourself to be physically prepared. [You are basically] doing exercise in the middle of the day outside in the Texas sun for hours,” Butala said. “You have to make sure your body can handle not only the cheer part but also the environmental side to it.”
The team has 14 members who will cheer for Trinity for the first time. Despite this lack of experience, Weaver feels that the team will gain good chemistry in no time.
“Each person will find their niche and cohesion with the team and teammates. Having the same goal, drive and love for the sport helps create the chemistry needed to work together,” Weaver said. “We all have to work as a unit and sharpen our skills no matter where we are starting from.”
You can see the Cheerleading squad at the next Football game this coming Saturday at 6:00 p.m, where the Tigers will be taking on Hardin-Simmons University.
When you are watching the game, make sure to join the cheerleaders as they help tumble, chant and dance the Tigers to victory.
| Class of 2021 | Majors: Neuroscience |