When fall athletes come to school early to prepare for their season, most people forget that there are another group of athletes who join them; cheerleaders. Cheerleaders, along with football, soccer, and field hockey players, start preparing for their season in early August. This year, the squad attended the Universal Cheerleaders Association College Cheerleading Camp that is held at the University of Scranton’s campus. West Chester came home from the camp with the most prestigious award that can be awarded, the collegiate award. This award is given to the college that sets an example of collegiate cheerleading to all the other Division II schools.
This would mark the beginning of their eight month season that starts with fall sports and doesn’t end until the men and women’s basketball season is finished in the spring, which sometimes goes well into March.
“We start in August, just like any other fall sports team, however, we don’t stop,” said senior captain Christina DeLeo. “As soon as football games are over, basketball starts right up.”
DeLeo is a co-captain on the squad along with fellow senior Tiera Kerr.
The cheerleaders would also like to dispel the rumors that they don’t work hard in their preseason. They may not be pushing blocking sleds or running suicides, but they devoted four days a week to their physical performance. This includes 6 a.m. workout sessions that go on into the semester.
Although the cheerleaders work hard on their own team to support the success of the other teams. They do more than just stand on the sidelines and cheer.
Last month, at a home football game against Kutztown, which was also “Family Day”, the cheerleaders showed their support of the Make-A-Wish foundation. This foundation grants wishes to children that have dangerous and possibly life threatening medical conditions and has been giving children the chance of a lifetime for many years. Before the Kutztown game the cheerleaders were walking around the stadium collecting money for this worthwhile organization.
The cheerleaders are not working alone on this project. Other campus athletes and organizations are also raising money for Make-A-Wish. The Student Athlete Advisory Committee hopes to raise enough money to grant one wish.
Although football season is coming to an end, you can see the cheerleaders on the sidelines of the basketball court when the season begins in a couple weeks.
Amy Festa is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. She can be reached at AF649219@wcupa.edu.