Competition season for cheerleading is just around the corner and the competitive cheerleading team, known as the Blue Crew at California Baptist University, is preparing to show off their stunts, athleticism and talent against other universities.
The upcoming season will contain five traditional cheer competitions as well as four STUNT competitions. STUNT competitions give the cheerleaders the ability to focus more on displaying their athleticism and stunts.
Kaitlyn Statham, junior public relations major and flyer, said her coaches are preparing the Blue Crew by increasing intensity and pressure at practices.
“As nationals get closer, the coaches will create distractions in the middle of our routines at practice in order for us to learn how to focus despite what may be happening,” Statham said.
Statham said competitive cheer is rewarding in multiple ways.
“My favorite aspect of competing is the feeling of putting the hours of hard work to use,” Statham said. “There is no greater feeling than walking onto the mat beside your best friends that have all endured the hard work with you.”
Kendal Hutchings, senior criminal justice and political science double major and base, said their hard work can be overlooked at times.
“As cheerleaders, we get stereotyped and placed into categories that don’t exactly represent us,” Hutchings said. “We train just as hard as any other team on campus and we do it year round.”
Tami Fleming, head cheer coach, said one of the biggest challenges involved in competitive cheer is trying to keep everyone injury-free.
“Cheer is a contact sport and injuries occur, but we do our best to keep the team safe and focused,” Fleming said.
Fleming added that making sure everyone is psychologically prepared is just as important.
“We have to overcome any mental blocks and fears and make sure the team is mentally prepared for competition,” Fleming said.
Hutchings said she will never forget the bonds she has formed on the cheer team.
“The banners, rings, none of it matters if you don’t have the right people on the mat beside you,” Hutchings said. “I am so thankful to be apart of such an incredible program.”
Competitive cheer season will begin Feb. 10.