The AU cheerleading program has seen many cheerleaders and different leadership throughout the last decade. Whether the squad is comprised of 10 or 20 cheerleaders, each member has brought dedication and talent to Ravens’ sporting events.
However, despite the school spirit that the squad embodies, it is possible that cheerleaders have been misunderstood for quite some time.
Cheer squad coach and recent AU graduate of the class of 2019, Audrey Aslinger, appreciates the hard work ethic that those in the program use to perform well on any given game day.
“I do feel that some people do not know what all goes into being a cheerleader,” said Aslinger. “We practice at least twice a week for two hours each. Then if we have games or additional events, the cheerleaders dedicate up to 10 hours per week during our season, which goes from September to February.”
But this dedication for cheerleading does not come without challenges.
As a program, the squad is not financially supported. The squad must facilitate fundraisers to raise money for the things that are essential for a cheerleader.
“We have to raise our own money for stunting insurance, uniforms and other items we wish to purchase,” said Aslinger. “Sometimes this money runs a little low, and we have to give things up in order to stay in our budget.”
Even with the limited budget that the cheerleaders work under, the squad is constantly looking for ways to improve. As always, the squad is dedicated to improving their overall performance.
According to Madison Hamrin, senior cheerleader and one of two tumblers on the AU squad, the mental side of cheerleading can also pose a problem when throwing a tumbling pass, which is the combination of at least two skills strung together. Working past those mental blocks has been a key challenge and success in her performance as a cheerleader.
However, Hamrin also advocates for the significance of crowd involvement, especially when it comes to AU students.
“I think it would be really cool if we had a designated pep club for campus,” said Hamrin. “It could be a program run through the SGA, or it could be run through something else. Maybe they could have a president, and they could assign themes to each game to help get people involved.”
If AU students are looking to get involved, they are also encouraged to join the cheer squad.
“Cheerleading is unique because people from so many different backgrounds come together to do something they all enjoy,” said Aslinger. “While I was in college, I met so many people who I would never have met if it wasn’t for cheerleading.”
Hamrin and Aslinger encourage AU students to cheer along with the squad at games and enjoy the performance coming up on Feb. 19 at the men’s basketball game, where they will showcase their skills and the work they have done throughout the semester.
“We have two awesome seniors graduating this year, and we will hopefully be adding new members to the squad in the fall,” said Aslinger. “Hopefully in this upcoming year, we will be able to welcome new talent that will allow us to continue the traditions of AU cheer.”