By Brooklyn Dance
For the first time in 47 years, Trevecca does not have a cheerleading team, but a freshman is working to have a club of cheerleaders ready for at least a few basketball games.
Athletic Director Mark Elliot and Mary Lou Del Rio, Trevecca’s former cheerleading sponsor, made the decision over the summer to take a year off.
“Let’s back up, revaluate, and see how this year goes,” said Elliott. “Let’s figure out a different way to do it.”
In the past, cheerleaders signed up and joined the team, but commitment and motivation would wane by second semester, Elliott said.
Trevecca has never supported cheerleaders in terms of scholarships.
“We have solely provided the opportunity for someone who wanted to cheer,” Elliot said. “That’s the way it’s always been.”
Elliott and Del Rio intended to have an emphasis on Moore Maniacs this year, in place of the cheerleaders. The student section, led by Jared Caperton, would essentially take over cheering for the men’s and woman’s basketball games.
However, freshman Madison Wade came to Trevecca with the intent of cheering. Wade cheered throughout high school, and was not ready to give up when she heard the team was taking a year off.
Wade learned there wasn’t going to be a cheer team when she began figuring out her schedule and where cheerleading practice would fit in. When she went to the SGA booth to ask when tryouts were, she was informed there was no team.
“I then talked to Mark Elliott and told him about my passion for cheerleading,” Wade said. “He told me to get a team together, and then talk to him again.”
Wade called a meeting, and 15 girls showed up interested in joining her.
From there, Wade had several more meetings with Elliott, Matt Spraker, associate dean of student life, Anne Twining, assistant to the president and Steve Harris, associate provost and dean of student development.
Wade was granted the ability to start a team, as an extension of Moore Maniacs, with Elliott as the official faculty sponsor. The cheerleaders will lead the student section in at least three games during the basketball season. The dates are to still be determined.
“This won’t be a traditional team. We are half way merging with Moore Maniacs, who are starting their new drive by having different people lead the student section,” Wade said. “The group of girls that I have gotten together will be one of those groups.”
Nine girls showed up to the first practice and learned cheers created by Wade and Melissa Kierce, a Trevecca alum who cheered and a family friend of Wade.
Wade explained it is difficult to reserve gym time, but she is managing to hold practices one to two times a week.
The team does not have uniforms yet. Wade wants uniforms so that the team looks professional.
Depending on how Wade’s team looks this year will dictate what happens to cheerleaders next year.
“If there is still a lack of commitment and lack of drive, we might not have one next year, but I would still love to have a team,” Wade said.
Wade is excited she and her team have the ability to cheer this year.
“The girls are definitely getting better everyday,” Wade said. “It’s amazing. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. The team is improving, and they are all very excited to cheer.”
Although none of last year’s cheerleaders are returning, Wade said the new cheer team is going to be better than students might be expecting.
Sports Editor Andrew Preston contributed to this story