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By Alyssa Amasol. September 18, 2012 - 3:34 pm
HPU Cheerleaders Allie Huylebroeck, Corey Rickett and Bethany Victorino do their part to fundraise for the Cheer and Dance Team by wearing t-shirts reading “Champions never surrender.” Photo by: Maren Bjoergum
Although the past semester was filled with disappointing news for the nationally recognized HPU cheer team, they continue to hold their heads high and hope for a more successful future.
“All we know is that we’re not gonna stop fighting to go to nationals,” said Summer Hancock, a freshman on the cheer team.
Last semester just days after returning from nationals, HPU announced that the cheer team would no longer be able to compete. According to university administration, expenses for nationals increased significantly. In order to resolve this, the university decided to restructure, putting the cheer team in the athletic department in order to better “support HPU athletic contests, university activities and community events.”
In the past decade, the large cheer squad has won 10 consecutive National Cheerleading Association championships, something that has never been done before. Between all of the squads, they have won 24 national titles thus far.“If you ask anyone in the cheer world who is the best team, HPU will always be mentioned as one of the best teams,” said Tyler Kemper, a second year member of the cheer team.
Although it’s been a tough summer, they are determined to get back into the competitive cheer world again.
“We’ll use this year to better support our athletics and improve on our game and then next year to just get back to national competitive level,” said Savanna Sibley, head cheer coach.
Currently they are in the process of continuing to fundraise for their program as well as to help out with athletics.
According to Kemper, they chose to do the fundraisers to show that they can raise money for nationals. So far they have raised more than $7,000 from fundraisers and public support.
This year instead of competing as a team, Kemper among others will compete as individuals to still bring recognition to HPU. Like it has always been, the individuals will have to fundraise themselves.
Despite the team’s push for a positive attitude Adam Amicks, a third year member of the team, has noticed a definite change.
“You see less determination, less work ethic,” he said. “There’s no goal to push for. … Not having nationals is like breaking our spirit because we’re not having any new rookies come in. There’s no one to really pass it on to anymore and there’s no real goal to go after, except having more family members.”
Last semester former student body president Tim Lussier worked closely with the cheer team.
He supported them by creating the “SAVE HPU Cheer and Dance” Facebook page, which currently has more than 8,300 members, and helped to connect the squad to local media resources.
This year’s student body president, Collin Paran will continue to work with the cheer team.
“As the new student body president, I am committed to continuing the SGA’s relationship with both cheer and dance teams,” Paran, said. “The SGA’s function is to be the voice of the students and a resource for all students by students.”
The cheer team’s growing support network also consists of the athletics department that they now fall under.
“The decision for this year has been made so I’m focusing on building the program and encouraging coaches to keep student athletes in a positive frame of mind as we assess what will happen in future years,” said Darren Vorderbruegge, Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation.
With the focus off competing for this year, the cheer team continues to keep their head up and focus on the future.
“Either way,” first year cheer team member, Sam Ybarra said, “we’re gonna build relationships and maintain skills so hopefully we’re given the opportunity to compete next year.”