By Audrey Carroll Contributing Writer
After a stellar 2018-2019 competition season, consisting of two first place victories on the road, the UMF cheerleading club is unable to compete at all this year due to a lack of participants. Now the team is searching for next year’s competition squad.
The club has diminished from 19 members last year to only seven this year. This significant decrease has affected the squads competition season dramatically. “Unfortunately, the UMF team is unable to compete this year. The program does not have the number of athletic roles to achieve that goal,” says Annie Dobos, President of the club.
This year, the squad simply did not “have the right amount of flyers,” said the club’s Vice President Joy Jancewicz. Flyers are the athletes who are lifted during the stunting portion of the routine. An important part of a cheerleading routine is stunting, or lifting one or more athletes into the air who showcase their flexibility and other skills in order to receive a higher score. “Potentially, you can teach someone to fly. . .It would be hard work, but not impossible,” said Jancewicz.
Although the club’s seven athletes are not competing this year, they are still keeping busy. So far, the club has cheered at two basketball games – one at UMF and one hosted at Thomas College. Some of the cheerleaders also set up a table at the Spring Club Fair and were approached by a few interested individuals, showing hope for next season.
The club has also been brainstorming fundraising ideas for this year. Not only would these events raise money for the club, but they would also “get people’s attention, and remind them of our program” said club member Kara Doane.
So far, the club has discussed hosting a clinic for young cheerleaders, and is also considering participating at this years Relay for Life on campus. Both ideas served well for the club in the past.
Last year, the club held a community-based event, focused on getting local children active. “The entire UMF cheering team put a cheer clinic together that younger athletes could attend to better their skills as a cheerleader,” Dobos says. This event consisted of three sessions, during which the children were grouped by age and then taught a small routine that was performed for their parents during the last session.
At last year’s Relay for Life, the club sold energy drinks and performed a few stunts for the attendees, while also cheering on participants in the relay from approximately 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
“With all of these events, the club was very busy and very active in the student life at UMF as well as the surrounding community,” said Dobos, demonstrating why the club would like to do them again.
While the club hopes to raise awareness through these events, current athletes always encourage anyone who has ever wanted to cheer to join their team as soon as possible. “If you’re interested in joining cheering at all, I would say do it, because even if you don’t have any experience in it or anything, we’re very willing to help you build the needed skills,” said Doane.
“It’s not a difficult thing to do, it’s just time consuming. You have to be willing to put in the effort to get the result.”
While it may be too late for anyone interested to cheer at basketball games with the club this year, it is not too late “to take part in other events this semester,” said Jancewicz. “I think it would help, too, for you to get a feel for the team – to dip your toes in the water to see if it something that you might be interested in for next year.”
If you’re interested in joining, you are encouraged to contact the clubs President Annie Dobos, or Vice President, Joy Jancewicz, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or