The Cheer and Stunt team makes it’s competition routine it’s number one priority with the start of the season.
“Dec. 13 is our first competition, and we are far from ready,” said head coach Sue Poeschl. “We still have one third of our routine left to learn. It will be slow going, but if they get this down it will be our best one yet.”
The team took fifth place at nationals last year after starting competition season on a similar note.
“We started off kind of iffy last year, but each competition got better and better,” said junior Brittany Erickson.
Each year the team starts slowly and focuses primarily on football and basketball sideline routines leaving competition performances on the back burner. As the year unfolds more difficult choreography is added.
“At those games we do sideline chants and a few stunts to engage the crowd,” said assistant coach Susan Becker.
UW- Oshkosh and UW-Eau Claire are the toughest teams the Pointers face.
“If we can have a clean, solid routine, go to nationals and beat all the other Wisconsin schools, that would be awesome,” Erickson said.
Poeschl sees that goal as a definite possibility with the talent the team has this year.
“Our goal is to put out a better routine every competition and every practice and be the best that we can be,” Poeschl said.
Becker is eager for the season.
“We want to get the choreography perfect, and I’m excited to see that happen,” Becker said.
There is more tumbling this year, but the team could still use more. Poeschl said it is also important for the team to remember basic skills. She sees strong leaders standing out to help make that happen.
“Making it all the way through a routine without anyone getting dropped is always our main goal,” said freshman Emily Schueler.
The team continues to grow each year.
“It’s fun watching everyone grow as a whole and seeing everyone get better,” said sophomore Tiffany Tushkowski.
Junior Reann Devorscek likes the adrenaline surrounding the competitions.
“Most sports have a ball or something, but this a balancing act. Literally,” Devorscek said. “When you’re performing you have two minutes where everything has to go right.”
Erickson loves stunts because they build trust and allow the team to show off its athletic ability.
“A lot of people don’t realize the variety of skills that we need and the body control involved,” Devorscek said.
The Cheer and Stunt team is not considered an athletic team or a club sport, but is stuck between the two.
“You have to have a good head on shoulders,” Erickson said. “We’re not expected to have good grades since we’re not a university team, but we still do. We follow all the rules even though we don’t have to.”
Opinion is a large part of cheer and stunt competitions. Teams are judged on a 500 point scale and sometimes as few as five points can separate first place from fifth place.
“It’s not a definite thing like a touchdown,” Becker said. “One judge could love it, and one could hate it.”
The team has strong chemistry.
“Cheer is the only friends I have. I’m a transfer, and I live off campus so this was a great way for me to meet people,” Tushkowski said.
Schueler loves all the friends she has made since joining the team. Poeschl said she can be shy but has come out of her shell.
“I love getting to work with the wide range of talented athletes,” Poeschl said. “I coached high school for 35 years before this and just love getting to know them as people and athletes.”
Becker agrees the relationships she forms are her favorite part.
“People need to realize how dedicated these kids need to be, it takes athleticism, rhythm, strength and confidence,” Poeschl said. “It’s not something you just put on a skirt and do.”