Cheer squad optimistic

Cheer squad optimistic

by Jessica McDonald

Stuntmen aren’t providing the only strength on the SimpsonCheerleading squad this year, they also have strength innumbers.

For the first time in several years, Simpson College will have afull cheerleading squad, 12 women, complete with four stuntmen.

“This is the first year we’ve had to cut girls since I’ve beenhere,” said senior Kristen Erickson.

The squad has a new coach this year as well, Debra Lord, whoalso works in admissions. Simpson College admissions counselor,Tara Price, was the previous coach, and she left Simpson after the2002-2003 academic year. Lord did not intend to coach cheerleadingwhen she took the admissions position at Simpson.

“I knew they were having a hard time finding a coach after Tara[Price] left,” said Lord. “Many of the student ambassadors arecheerleaders and I knew that no one had applied for the job by thebeginning of the school year, so I volunteered.”

Lord has six years of cheerleading experience in high school andin college.

Lord is the third cheerleading coach Simpson has had in the pastfour years.

The high turnover with coaches has also impacted the turnoverwith student cheerleaders.

“Debra has really helped with team unity,” said Erickson.”That’s one of the problems a team faces when they don’t have acoach.”

The cheerleading squad is really hoping to put together a strongprogram at Simpson.

Sophomore captain, Erin Disney remembers when she first became acheerleader at Simpson.

“The squad was small in numbers and we were not active at all,”said Disney.

As captain, Disney has plans for the squad to build up the Stormspirit around campus. Their four-stuntmen will allow the squad toperform additional stunts than what they have before.

“Stunting is an important part of cheerleading and it’s also themost fun,” said Disney.

Sophomore stuntman, Devon Sadler has had a good time workingwith the cheerleaders.

“None of us had experience, we were just asked,” said Sadler.”The girls have all been really patient with us.”

The men and women do not practice, but get together twice a weekto work on stunts.

“We’ve been really working a lot for homecoming and especiallyYell Like Hell,” said Sadler.

Homecoming will be a busy time for the cheer squad. They will beperforming at the kick-off and at Yell Like Hell.

The cheerleaders will also be doing a lot of decorating aroundcampus.

It was the cheer squad who did all the chalking for Parent’sWeekend.

“We’ll also be putting posters up for homecoming and putting updoor decorations,” said Disney.

Freshman Mallory Higgins, already has visions of keeping thesquad strong and involved in her next four years.

“I’d like to see us become more competitive with the biggerschools,” said Higgins. “Going to cheer competitions would help usimprove and get better involvement on campus.”

As a senior, Erickson has no worries about leaving thesquad.

“We have great leadership from the underclassmen, I know they’llkeep the success going,” said Erickson.