Simpson cheer heads to first IIAC competition


(Photo: Jayde Vogeler/The Simpsonian)

by Laura Wiersema, Editor-in-Chief

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Simpson cheer team on Sunday will travel to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake to participate in its first-ever Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition.

Judges have approximately two minutes and 18 seconds to score the hours of practice, buckets of sweat and months of dedication the women have put into their routine.

After receiving the news shortly before Thanksgiving break, coach Heather Hulen and the team had just three months to prepare with winter break in between.

To further complicate matters, the cheer team had already transitioned from football to basketball, and the numbers dwindled from 20 to just seven. The team needed at least eight to compete.

After an emergency meeting, 12 women volunteered for the competition team. With time already ticking away, members decided to adapt their routine from Yell Like Hell rather than starting from scratch.

With the competition days away, they’re more confident than ever.

“Before Yell Like Hell, I felt like we were scrambling,” senior Audrey LoVan said. “Here, I think we really pulled ourselves together, and we’re ready to go on Sunday.”

For many on the team, this is their first time competing for cheer, which looks very different than what happens on game day, Hulen said.

“While we are enthusiastic about cheering on our Simpson sports teams, it’s really nice to have an opportunity to expand our skills and compete ourselves on the cheer mat in our own sport,” she said.

Of the three competition categories — stunting, non-stunting and five man — Simpson only plans to compete in stunting. The team will face other schools in the IIAC conference.

“It’s pushed us out of our comfort zone and made us want to compete against other schools that we normally are cheering with,” Hulen said.

The biggest challenge facing the team is the newness, LoVan said, but the team remains confident going into the weekend.

“In the end, I am confident that what we’re doing is enough to compete,” Hulen said. “I think that we’ll do well, and, win or lose, it’s been a great process. And it’s been an incredible team to work with.”

Competition aside, LoVan said the experience has brought the team closer together and gives them credibility. They’re “no longer just a group of girls hanging out,” but they’re representing Simpson at a competitive level.

“When you’re just doing sideline cheering, while you are a team and you still stunt together, you’re cheering for someone else,” LoVan said. “Here, we’re cheering for ourselves. This is it. All we’ve got is each other. Let’s not drop anybody.”