Cheerleaders support NSU sports
TNE Editor
/ Categories: RiverHawk Athletics

Cheerleaders support NSU sports

Published 11/7/17

Valeriia Efimenko

TNE Writer

NSU has a cheer squad and a pom squad. Cheer contains of stunting, jumping, tumbling, and dancing. Pom is dancing with a complete different genre and technique background. When they perform together at any event, they are the Spirit Squad.

“If it isn't stunting humans, then they are tricking it out with tumbling passes,” said Lauren Pettus, NSU cheer coach. “This consists of flipping their bodies in different directions, having little to no contact with the floor. Then there is that whole jumping thing where they try to jump as high as they can, and show off all of their flexibility they have worked so hard on. Also, dancing is probably a cheerleaders’ least favorite part, but it is definitely executed for the full effect of cheerleading.”

Competitive routines typically range anywhere from one to three minutes. Routines encourage the teams and excite the crowd.

“I believe that sport is under appreciated,” said Pettus. “What other sport lifts human beings in the air after a three-hour long game in the hot or in the cold or for a 3-minute long routine. What other sport has to flip their bodies around in perfect unison and technique to be able to compete with other teams?”

The team practices once a week on Sundays for three to four hours in the Event Center or in Jack Dobbins Field House. There is no maximum to the amount of members they take on to cheer or pom squad. To be able to be considered for the team, students would need to come to a spring tryout. Usually, it takes place in late April.

“I have been cheering since preschool,” said Maddison Harrison, NSU cheer captain. “I have always loved to cheer because it’s fun and keeps me busy. I love being with the girls, and having fun on the sidelines.”

When it is football season, the squad usually arrives at the game two hours before kickoff. They get involved with the crowd at tailgates and warm up their bodies for stunts, turns and other skills and technique they need to. During basketball season, they arrive at the gym 30 minutes prior to the start of the game.

“My favorite sport to cheer for is basketball because it is more intimate with the crowd,” said Harrison. “Also, I get to see my fiancé play. I believe it’s important to have a spirit squad because, no matter what, the teams have fans that are cheering for a win.”

Pettus has a background in dance performance from the University of Central Oklahoma. Coming up with dances, choreography and routines is something she has been trained to do, and now just happens naturally.

“Even though cheer and pom are completely different, they do have their similarities, which makes it easier on myself,” said Pettus. “I have always worked closely with the cheer teams around me, so I am very familiar with how those routines are constructed. Also, music is on myself unless we go to competition, then I will pay for someone else to take on that stress.”

The squads are offered scholarships depending on talent, commitment and academics. The team has not been competed in about five years. However, their goal this year is to head to Daytona, Fla. for Collegiate Nationals in April 2018. This is where colleges from all over the nation will compete in their division for the national title of cheerleading.

“I started cheering when I was in first grade and have been going ever since,” said Cheyenne Saffeels, NSU cheer member. “I have never thought I would cheer at the college level. Cheerleaders help the crowd get pumped up. Even when the team is down points, we are still cheering them on to get them pumped up. I love being involved with everyone. I also love stunting because of the awesome things we can try to hit to show off to the crowd.”

Pettus said her favorite part about cheerleading is they are like a family with one common passion.

“The drive, the passion, the commitment and the team is something I always look forward to with all of the appearances, games, practices and competitions,” said Pettus. “It is your family away from family, and in college it is the times you will never forget.”

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