Bryn Younger, Staff Writer
The new year brings many changes for the Union cheerleading squad.
The squad held tryouts and started practices Sept. 12 for upcoming Union events, particularly Midnight Madness and Homecoming. They will be at every home game and many of the away games throughout the winter season.
The team has 12 people, of which seven are new to the squad.
“We have a whole new look this year,” said Tina Giddens, student accounts receivable and cheerleading coach. “We have a lot of experienced people, new stunts, and everyone is really excited. They’re all from very strong high school squads, are knowledgeable about their sport and each have unique characteristics. It’s going to be an exciting year.”
Giddens said even though cheerleading can be difficult, it has its perks as well that make the time spent rewarding.
“It’s an opportunity to do something you really enjoy that helps with school expenses and gives you an experience you might not have otherwise,” she said.
An experience especially emphasized is the team’s spirituality.
“It’s not many times that you’re around cheerleading and get the Christian aspect,” Giddens said of Union’s squad. “It’s not seen in sports as much as it needs to be. It adds a whole different appeal (to the squad).”
Shauna Raidy, freshman nursing major, said, “Cheerleading is a great experience to meet new girls and show spirit for my school while doing something I love. I’m excited to be a part of the team and for the new basketball season.”
Raidy is one of the women new to the team this year. Fellow team members said they are looking forward to the new talent.
“With six new (women) and one (man) added to our cheerleading team this season, I am positive that each individual will bring a new attribute to the team,” said Megan Mysinger, senior psychology major.
The squad will do more than cheer at the games this season. There will be a fundraiser later in the year for the basketball team’s trip to Uganda that will help raise items the team can bring over to help the people there.
They also go to a local school where assistant coach Becky Ranfeld teaches. The squad reads to classes and informs about upcoming events.
“Cheerleading is a great way to get out in the community representing Union,” Giddens said. “Also, (the women) get to be an example to young girls.”
Members of the squad said they are looking forward to the year and what is to come.
“With only three weeks into the season, it is hard to say a team’s strongest assets, but I can say that my teammates’ attitudes are amazing, and with a positive attitude as an entire team, almost anything can be accomplished,”
Mysinger said. “As with any cheerleading team, my hopes are always to accomplish more this season than the previous one.”
Other members on the squad include newest recruits Chelsea Frederick, freshman pre-professional major; Sarah Ford, freshman nursing major; Matthew Keithline, freshman nursing major; Elizabeth Atkins, sophomore psychology major; Kayla Dubrule, sophomore education major; and Robyn Reynolds, sophomore biology major.
Returning members are Morgan Hudson, sophomore pre-professional major; Kayla Smith, sophomore nursing major; Shelby Black, junior art major; and Lindsey Blackwood, senior digital media studies major.