$25k budget increase issued to cheerleading program

Erin Wrinkle

Cheer squad granted funding for future national competitions

The cheerleaders should not just get recognition for being on the sidelines, because our cheerleaders have been winning their own “playoffs” for the past 10 years. The competition team ranked sixth at the University Cheerleaders Association competition in January at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

The Co-ed cheerleading squad. Fourth row on top, from left to right: Cody Thomas, Sophomore, Vocal Performance, Cameron Moore, Senior, Criminal Justice, Aaron Alvarez, Sophomore, Kurt Clark, Freshman, Brandon Quigley, Senior, Excercise Physiology. Third row, from left to right, Brittany Spann, Senior, Kinesology, Rachel Stewart, Freshman, Lauren Statham, Sophomore, Undecided, Collin Darland, Junior, Art Education, Dani Johnson, Freshman, Lindsay Hall, Senior, Pre-Pharmacy. Second row, left to right: Sara Finkler, Freshman, Lynzee Jordan, Sophomore, Kat Corcorcan, Junior, Childhood Education, Kelby Doughty, Junior, Felicia Martinez, Junior, Business Management. First row, left to right: Sarah Adams, Sophomore, Education & Kinesiology, Payton Boner, Freshman, Katie Clark, Junior, Special Education, Gillian Jones, Junior, Mass Communication, Cameron Harper, Freshman.
Photo courtesy of Sue Witherspoon, the Administrative Assistant and Cheerleading Sponsor.

“We have competed for the last ten years and were in the top 10 of the nation in our division,” said Sue Witherspoon, sponsor.

Witherspoon has been at Midwestern for 11 years and  has been the cheerleader and mascot sponsor for nine years. She is also the administrative assistant  for the Office of Student Development.

The cheerleaders commit to their classes, charity work and of course, cheering. They practice regularly throughout the year.

“They work hard all year progressing in their skills, practicing three to four times a week,” Witherspoon said. “Plus in the meantime supporting all athletic teams”.

To reward them for all their hard work, it seems fit for the team to compete nationally, she said.

Recently, to make the competition feasible, the Board of Regents increased the cheer budget to $25,509. Not only will  this money cover the team’s participation in nationals, but it also makes it possible for the cheerleaders to attend the football team’s playoffs.

The squad needed the budget increase because there was no guarantee that they would get to compete in nationals, or how far the football team will go in the playoffs.

“So when we request funding for national competition, and when they send us to football playoffs, we do not have the funding in our account,” Witherspoon said.

The competition team competes at the UCA  yearly.

Katie Clark and Kelby Dought are both members of the competition team and enjoy competing at UCA.

“UCA is a lot more personal,” Clark explained. “The competition begins with a routine, and then halfway through the performance, the squad does a minute long cheer to get the crowd involved. Our goal is to make the crowd yell with us because they can’t help it,” the special education major said.

Performing at these competitions benefits MSU because it gets  the school’s name out there nationally, Witherspoon said. “Not only does it help our university, but it helps the cheer program during recruiting.”

Dought can’t imagine life without cheerleading. The sports and leisure studies major enjoys the friendship and trust she shares with the other squad members through cheering.

MSU’s cheerleaders have come a long way since Witherspoon took over the team.

According to “Mama Sue,” as the cheerleaders call her, she only started out with nine or 10 cheerleaders, and by her first tryout she had 30.

“We didn’t even have enough uniforms, so for the first couple of games we had to wear three different uniforms until our new ones came in,” Witherspoon said.

As of now, MSU has two cheerleading squads, the Coed team, which consists of 21 members, and the All Girl team which has 10.

The Coed team cheers at all football and basketball games, whereas the All Girl team cheers at volleyball and soccer games as well.

“This year was the first time for the All Girl squad,” Witherspoon said. “Having another squad gives more students the opportunity to get involved on this campus.”