Simpson’s cheerleading squad adds spirit to the court

by Christin KloewerStaff Writer

Simpson’s basketball cheer squad is in full swing. With 13 girls on the basketball squad and spring try outs quickly approaching, the cheerleaders have a lot to look forward to.

“This is an extremely exciting time for the cheerleading program as we have made very successful strides in building our program and increasing support for what we do,” senior Captain Sheena Smitley said.

In years past, there have been only two squads–one football and one basketball. However, with increasing growth and interest in the cheerleading program, they have added members and expanded into two squads for basketball.

“We have completely revamped the structure for what we do at this year’s basketball games, trying to emphasize a more collegiate atmosphere, we now sit while we cheer,” Smitley said.

Smitley believes that sitting will allow the fans a better opportunity to see the game. The cheer squad does, however, utilize every timeout with the dance team cheering right beside them. They also incorporated a giant “SC” flag into their routines to increase crowd enthusiasm.

“As a cheerleading program, we have started a revolution for change in our division,” Smitley said. “Other schools in our division have taken note of our changes and have had nothing but good things to say.”

Although the cheerleading squad performs at both football and basketball sporting events, there is more to the squad than just cheering.

“Cheerleading has the components of a team,” junior Laura Anderson said. “We practice hard and weight lift. We do fun activities such as squad bonding, our annual watermelon feed and host a cheer clinic that is held during basketball season.”

The cheerleading clinic is organized by the cheerleading squad every year and is offered to local elementary boys and girls. The event lasts an entire day in which all the cheerleaders participate, instruct and perform.

The participants are taught proper cheerleading techniques and material for which they will showcase during halftime of that day’s basketball game.

“Next year we are hoping to expand and have a clinic for middle school and high school cheerleaders during football season,” Smitley said.

With all the anticipation and excitement that the cheer squad creates, there are tryouts in the spring which determine who will make the squad next year.

Try outs this year will be held on Saturday, April 5, in Hopper Gymnasium. Although Cheerleading Coach Christy Christensen is the ultimate decision-maker on who makes the team, judges are brought in from around the state. The girls must learn and perform material for the judges because they are scored on multiple elements and then given a final score. It is an intense day of training, but cheerleading does have its perks.

“One thing I enjoy the most about cheerleading is getting the crowd all revved up about our teams and getting to meet and cheer with some great girls,” Anderson said. “I am definitely looking forward to cheering my senior year for the Storm knowing that we will continue to grow.”

With Smitley graduating in the spring, next year’s captain will not be determined until the squad for next year has been set and the coach has had time to observe who has the motivation and leadership skills necessary.

The cheerleading program has high hopes for their future, especially with five freshmen on the basketball squad.

“I love cheering here at Simpson,” freshman Mindi Callison said. “I know that if I need something at all I could call upon any one of the squad members to help me, and they would do so in a heartbeat.”