Like a breath of fresh air’

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by Ashley Van Alstine

A wave of school spirit comes to Simpson College with the new cheerleading coach Christy Christensen. Christensen officially started working for the Simpson cheer squad in August.

“When she arrived on campus everyone tried to make her feel welcome by being her friend, having an open mind, and really just having fun with practice,” sophomore cheerleader Sheena Smitley said.

Christensen said even though everyone did welcome her with open arms, it was a challenge for her because when she came to Simpson the squad had already been picked.

“It seemed like I was trying to play catch-up with the cheerleaders,” Christensen said.

The new coach has goals designed to improve the program for the cheerleaders.

“She’s really working on reshaping the whole program,” said senior Erin Disney, cheerleader and team captain. “She really gets involved with practices and doesn’t just stand on the sidelines. She’s always willing to help us.”

Christensen wants to develop a new flavor in the cheerleading program with new cheers, increased stunt ability, more crowd involvement, and community support through volunteer work. To obtain these goals the cheerleaders have had to work hard with vigorous practices. They have two stunt practices a week consisting of one-mile runs, stunts, and stretching and at least one to two other practices with cardio, jumps, chants, and cheers.

Senior cheerleader Andrea McNamara said the strongest attributes of their new coach are experience, attitude and dedication to the team.

“She’s like a breath of fresh air,” McNamara said.

Christensen brings with her not only a great attitude toward her team, but a long history of cheering. Her experience dates back to her years at Lincoln High School in Des Moines and continued through college at Creighton University in Omaha.

After she obtained her degree, she returned to her roots at Lincoln to coach the cheerleaders. She coached at Lincoln for nine years and still assists with the competition squads at Lincoln and Valley High School in West Des Moines.

“Her past experience as a cheerleader has helped her to fully understand and be a better coach to us,” McNamara said.

Simpson’s cheerleaders are excited to have that experience on their side.

“The girls were happy to have a new coach to come in who had background experience,” Christensen said.

Her coaching jobs can be quite a commute from her home and family that live in Clive.

“I have a two-year-old son named Spencer and a husband who is very supportive and it’s that support from him that allows me to coach the squads and be a mother,” Christensen said.

The cheer squad is looking forward to having an experienced coach for the upcoming years

“We have a lot of freshmen who have joined, which is exciting because hopefully I will have them on the team all four years,” Christensen said.

The Simpson cheer leaders are thrilled about their new coach and the job that she is doing.

“I really can’t say enough about her, she’s not only a great coach, but a role model for anyone to look up to,” Disney said.