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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Cheer Team receives National Championship rings

Members of the 2018-2019 cheer team show off their rings. PHOTO COURTESY OF: Katie Teeling ’15

Each of the 21 members of the St. Joe’s cheer team received a national championship ring in a ceremony held in Michael J. Hagan Arena ’85 on Sunday Oct 6. The St. Joe’s team triumphed over 12 other cheer teams to win first place in the Intermediate All-Girls Division I category of the National Cheerleading Association College National Championship held in Daytona, Florida in April this year.

“Winning a National Champion is pretty cool feeling honestly, it gives you more respect on campus,” said senior base Madeline Bridges. “It’s a prideful feeling.” 

Former base on the team, Rose Walton ’19, said the team got to the national competition because team members had more and more practices and are a tight-knit group. 

“We were seeing more of each other, and the atmosphere was super casual,” Walton said. “I think that just allowed us to get closer as a team and we were able to overcome any obstacles  that came our way.” 

Going to nationals is the highlight of the season according to Head Coach Lauren Hanos, who said she is grateful for support from St. Joe’s Athletics to travel to Daytona Beach for the event each year.

“The experience is always great,” Hanos said. “There are thousands of cheerleaders there from all over the country. We wanted to come off the floor knowing we did everything we could to perform and show the judges what we were capable of doing.” 

According to Bridges, before the national competition, the team came together and concluded it was time to win after having placed second in the previous two years.

We felt like it was really our time so we felt that we had to put all of our skills together and really come together as a team and manifest it in our minds first before we even got there [that] this is our year, were winning [year] 3,” Bridges said.

Preparation for nationals consisted of conditioning, practice and team bonding. To be on the team, prospective cheerleaders have to complete a series of  jumps, tumbles and be able to perform a dance in front of the coaches. Sophomore backspot Christina Dominick said these practices helped bring the team closer together. 

“The team had a close bond this year and I think that’s why we went all out when it came down to the last dance,” said Dominick.

According to Walton, Kennesaw State University and the University of Maine both beat the St. Joe’s cheer team in previous years. 

“This year it was like we knew they were going to be the two strongest opponents,” said Walton. “It [was] really important to  us to be able to shape our routine so we knew that it was going to be better than theirs and if we performed it well enough then we knew we would win.”

The rings are engraved with “National Champions.”
PHOTO: Leslie Quan ’22

Walton said competing in nationals as a club team can be very costly, since each member of the team has to pay for the expenses that the budget and sponsors do not cover, and includes items like uniforms and travel expenses. Walton said that last year it cost about $1,200 per cheerleader to compete.

The cheer team raises money for their trips to competitions through sponsorships, and funding from St. Joe’s athletic department. Director of Athletics Jill Bodensteiner said she values what the cheer team brings to Hawk Hill. 

“I am extremely proud of the cheerleading program,” Bodensteiner said. “Few people know about the competitive side and the level of competition. But I’m extremely proud of the coaches and the students, they worked extremely hard and this couldn’t be more exciting for them and for us as an athletic program. It was well deserved.”


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