Brandeis cheerleading brings more than pep

December 1, 2017

Basketball isn’t the only sport you’ll find on the Gosman court—it’s also the stomping ground of the Brandeis cheerleading team, a club sport that cheers at basketball games and enters local competitions.

Cheerleading is a fun yet challenging sport. Brandeis cheerleaders are trained in stunts, dance choreography, jumps and tumbling, combining school spirit and gymnastics in routines that may look effortless but require a lot of skill. The team practices three days a week, cheers at home basketball games and heads off-campus to compete.

This season, the team has been working on hitting higher level stunts and helping new members get accustomed to their positions. Specifically, they’ve been working on “an extended lib followed by a single or double twist down,” said Co-President Jordyn Seri ’18 on behalf of the cheer board. In non-cheer terms, “An “extension” is a stunt that is held above the bases’ heads. A lib is when the flyer is held in the air on just one foot. A twist down is a dismount during which the bases throw the flyer in the air and she twists her body so that she spins,” Seri clarified.

The team has also been training new members on more advanced tumbling, or gymnastics––things like flips, tucks or walkovers.

The team cheers on the sidelines of home games, tailoring their cheers depending on the action in the game. They keep the crowd engaged during 60-second timeouts by performing short stunts before gameplay resumes, using “preps, extensions, libs, extended libs, show-and-goes and cheers to captivate the crowd,” said Seri. “Some members tumble across the court during these time outs, which really excites the crowd.” The team will facilitate giveaways, throwing small prizes into the crowd during timeouts. They will also execute a more organized halftime routine that they adapt from their competition routine.

Aside from supporting the Judges’ basketball teams, Brandeis cheerleading is a competitive team. This season, they competed in the New England Andy Yosinoff Cheer and Dance Competition on Nov. 11 in Boston and proudly took home second place. They faced off against Providence, RI, in the College Co-Ed division, the highest division for college cheer teams.

Competitions hold much more pressure for the team than basketball games. In a competition, the team performs a routine of cheers, dance, stunts, tumbling and jumps that they hire a professional to create. With just one chance to perform and wow the judges, “Everything that we do is scrutinized and if we don’t perform well just that one time, the score we get won’t reflect our true abilities,” Seri noted. This heightens the pressure for the cheerleaders, “especially because we compete against other schools with very talented athletes.”

“There is pressure to perform well at basketball games, but not the way there is at competition,” said Seri. Home games have an exciting but less stressful atmosphere “because there is a smaller crowd, we aren’t being graded and we know that there will be many more opportunities to prove ourselves.”

The cheerleading team likes to provide a fun and welcoming environment, and no experience is necessary to join the squad. In addition to attracting new members, the board has been working harder, Seri said, “to keep growing closer as a team. Being on a team creates a sense of unity and we want to make sure that every member feels that.”

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