Senior leadership is an important asset for any sports team. For the cheer leading squad, the seniors act as leaders and role models for younger squad members.
Whether rain or shine, home or away, veterans or rookies, the cheerleaders are the biggest fans of the Ohio Wesleyan football and men’s and women’s basketball teams. They shout, toss, tumble, jump, and chant to lead the Battling Bishops to victory. Even when the Bishops are not fortunate enough to win, the cheerleaders are just as supportive in the next game.
At the end of the 2012 school year, the cheer leading squad will graduate three seniors. Because the squad does not have team captains, much of the leadership stems from the seniors and upper classmen.
This will leave several opportunities for younger and new squad members to step up as leaders.
The three seniors said they each benefited by being a part of the OWU cheer team. Team unity is the central glue that holds this squad together like many other varsity and club sports teams.
The three seniors, Alex McCarty, Coley Kaeser, and Yvonne Hendricks shared their own experiences and are deserving of recognition. According to sophomore teammate Frida Hess, the seniors are the main motivators of the squad and act as the liaisons between the coaches and the rest of the squad.
“The role of the seniors is mainly one of leadership,” Hess said.
McCarty brought many years of experience to the squad all the way from San Diego, Calif. She cheered all four years in high school, in addition to cheering for four years at OWU.
When not on the sideline of a Battling Bishop game, she works as a tour guide and is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.
McCarty said the team is one big family. “We would always get together after cheer practice and really bonded as a team”(sic).
Kaeser came to OWU with no cheer leading experience. Instead, she played softball and field hockey in high school in Weston, Conn. Kaeser said she decided freshman year to give cheering a try and ended up joining the squad that year.
She enjoyed the family atmosphere of the team and built friendships and trusts that run deep, she said. “The stunting part of cheer leading can be very dangerous,” Kaeser said. “You have to be able to trust your team mate that she will not drop you.”
Hendricks cheered in middle school for two years in Hartford, Conn. and has been cheering for OWU since her freshman year.
She said that because she has no family in Ohio the cheer squad acted as a family away from home for her. Hendricks is also in Terpsicorps, Orchesis and Delta Gamma.
Like Kaeser, Hendricks stressed the importance of team trust.
“I am a back spot and we are essentially responsible for the safety of those that we toss into the air,” she said.
Currently, the cheer squad is a club sport. McCarty said that they hope to be able to attend competitions in the future, but were unable to this year because of budget and time conflicts.