‘Berg’s cheer team resilience

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Cheer team members attend a tailgate during football season. Photo courtesy of Victoria Jordan.

Muhlenberg cheer is a club through the Student Government Association (SGA), not an official sport at Muhlenberg. They have the opportunity to cheer for both the football and men’s basketball teams. Despite this, the team is still motivated to work hard and improve each season to reach their goals. “We aim to have two practices a week with stunting and 1-2 lifts per week and then games are either on the weekdays or the weekends if it’s football season,” said Captain Kristin Huenink ‘24.

One challenge the team faces is finding the space needed for practice and scheduling it through the athletics department. The cheer team goes through the athletic department to get access to the Life Sports Center’s field house for practice time. “We are a lower priority than other sports so we take the time we can get with the coverage we can receive,” said Huenink. 

Funding has been a constraint for the team because they are more responsible for it as individuals. “An example of something we may want to buy, as a team, is more practice shirts or a Universal Cheer Association (UCA) instructor-led stunt clinic. Since our cheer budget is largely based on the money we raise it’s dependent on how generous tailgaters feel during the football season home game raffles. We are grateful to have opportunities such as Mule Madness and raffles to help our funding,” Huenink explained. 

The cheer team does not compete, so it can be difficult to keep motivation levels high throughout the seasons. “We have different people from different experience levels. Some people are from the competitive experience level and some people are not and having a competition in the future is helpful because then you have an actual concrete goal to work toward and motivate you to become better. But overall I think we are happy with [performing] for the football and basketball teams alone,” said Huenink. 

There has also been a struggle to recruit new team members, as the team has no real recruitment process. Huenink said, “It has definitely lessened in the numbers over the years. We have been trying to really get the awareness up the last couple of years, letting people know that we exist and are trying to get new people in.” 

There is still more work to be done and Huenink and her squad plan on continuing to prove themselves. “It has been a pretty positive [experience] overall, we had to replace the coach due to scheduling conflicts and commitment levels, but this new coach has really helped us get back to where we want to be and provide motivation for the team to be better and to show up. We still need to work on communication, working toward a common goal, setting expectations for ourselves and others and motivation levels. Our season is technically from August to mid-February so it is pretty long to be doing something without a break,” Huenink explained. 

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