Finding fresh talent

Alexis Gay

Tryouts yield more than 80 possible candidates

The women trying out for the MSU co-ed cheerleading team line up to practice cheers Saturday morning at the co-ed tryout.

More than 80 students and incoming freshman participated in a cheer clinic held Saturday and Sunday in hopes of being part of the cheerleading squad and all-girl pom squad.

“It is so exciting to see how our program is growing every week,” said Sue Witherspoon, cheerleading sponsor.

According to Witherspoon, there is not a set number of cheerleaders recruited each year.

“We go out and recruit as many people as we can because you never know by tryout time how many are returning,” Witherspoon said. “Every year it doesn’t matter if you are one the squad or not, all returners have to try out.”

Witherspoon said those interested in trying out go to cheerleading team’s website and fill out a form stating if they are interested in the all-girls team or the co-ed squad, as well as what skills they have, their age, what high school they attended and their email address.

“I have a whole bunch [trying out] this year,” Witherspoon said. “It is hard to tell exactly how many are coming. Just by the web forms, I have about 40-something each day that will be trying out, but you never know how many are really going to come.”

The all-girls team is fairly new to campus, and is more like a dance team than a collegiate cheerleading squad.

Hopefuls and current MSU co-ed cheerleaders stretch before starting the tryout for the squad Saturday morning.

“Last year was out first year for all-girls, so we are excited to be able to keep that program this year,” Witherspoon said. “It’s not just a dance team, but it’s a lot more choreographed dance routines with poms.”

Witherspoon said she plans to get the all-girls team more involved with campus athletics by having them perform at every football game with the band, as well as basketball games.

“I want to showcase them more, and do more halftime dances with more crowd involvement and spirit,” Witherspoon said

The co-ed team, made up of both men and women, is a traditional collegiate team, filled with stunts, jumps and pyramids.

Witherspoon said that despite these differences, both the all-girls team and co-ed team is equal, with no one team being considered the “A” or “B” team.

According to Witherspoon, more men showed up for this year’s tryout than in the past.

“This year I am very excited because most of the time only seven guys tryout, but this year, I have 15,” she said. “A lot of them are from MSU and have never cheered before, but they thought it would be interesting. They came to our open practices and really got excited about it and have been learning from the other guys.”

Kenzie Kindt, a freshman in pre-med and a flyer on the co-ed team,  decided to switch from the all-girls team to the co-ed team this season.

“I have been cheering for three years,” Kindt said. “I love cheering because I like the sport and it is the only thing I can do because I am not athletic. I like the peppiness and crowd involvement, and that is why I was on the all-girls squad last year, but I tried out for co-ed [this year].”

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