UMF Cheerleaders Prepare For Upcoming Competition

By Harley Davis, Contributing Writer 

The UMF Cheerleading Club is preparing to travel out of state for two competitions in March and working hard in the meantime on refining choreography and finding time for extra hours of practice despite recent snowstorms.  

Large amounts of snow during the beginning of the semester have affected the team’s practice schedule. According to the president and coach of the cheerleading team, Kristin Cobleigh, “The team has been trying to get extra practice time in, but it has been hard due to the snow.”

Despite the weather, UMF Cheerleading has been meeting three times a week for practice, with practices averaging three hours long. “Lately we have been cleaning up and changing some minor things in the routine to get little extra points in various judging categories,” said Cobleigh. “We’ve also been trying to get team bonding in so that everyone’s spirits are up as we go to competition”

Compared to previous cheerleading teams at UMF, this year’s team has areas of strength that have not been seen in a team in past years.  “A strength that this team has over teams in the past is their ability to learn and perform skills they have never done before college quickly and efficiently,” said Cobleigh. “This year many of our girls have a vast background of knowledge that helps the team work well together when presented with something that doesn’t work or look the best in the routine.”

According to Ashley Skinner, the only senior on this year’s cheerleading team, the team spirit with this group is better than that of previous years. Our dynamic is one of the best I’ve ever been apart of,” Skinner said. “We are able to come to practice, stay focused, and work really hard, but we are all close friends so there is never a dull moment; someone is always laughing or joking around.”

While the competitions this year are out of state, the team is looking forward to their friends and family being able to watch them perform. “One of the best things about competitions is our families, friends and supporters,” said Cobleigh. ‘It’s a really cool thing to look out while on stage and see just a cluster of people all wearing UMF cheerleading T-shirts.

UMF Cheerleading will be participating in two competitions coming up in the month of March. “March 11th we are going to Syracuse, New York for the Salt City Beach Classic, and March 18th we are going to Warwick, Rhode Island for the Ocean State Beach Masters,” said Kaitlyn Polk, treasurer for the cheerleading team.

According to the ACDA website, the Salt City Beach Classic will open its doors at 10 a.m. and the competition will begin at 11a.m. Similarly, the Ocean State Beach Masters competition opens its doors at 12 p.m. and competition will begin at 1 p.m. Both events require an entry fee for spectators which must be paid in cash. For further information, see their respective websites.

“We want to represent UMF in the best way we can, so we have had no choice but to push ourselves at every single practice,” Skinner said. “We are ready for whatever this competition season is going to bring us.”

New Head Coach Ready to Step Up To The Plate For UMF Softball

By Marissa Chamberlain, Contributing Writer 

As the 2017 season approaches, the UMF softball team is looking to be a contender in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) with new head coach Kat McKay and many strong freshman additions.

Despite being a young team with only one senior and two juniors, McKay is confident in her players’ abilities to succeed this season. “I think that we’re going to turn some heads in the conference this year,” she said.

McKay brings 13 years of coaching experience to the team, including one year as assistant softball coach for the Beavers during the 2015 season. Most recently, she was head softball coach at Poland Regional High School for four years. She has also coached basketball at Poland and soccer and softball at St. Dominic Academy, where she served as assistant athletic director last year.

McKay said that it was hard to leave her job as assistant athletic director, but coaching was ultimately what she wanted to do. “I wanted to be a collegiate softball coach for a while,” she said. “Coaching is what I wanted to do full time.”

Coaching became a passion for McKay due to her experiences as an athlete. My coaches that I had had in the past were big influences in my life and I wanted to be that for someone else,” she said.

McKay said her favorite part about coaching softball at UMF is the athletes. “They have had some overturn with head coaches in the past few years,” said McKay. “The girls here want to be successful. They have the desire to win and better themselves.”

Kiana Thompson, a junior center fielder, has noticed an unbelievable difference in this year’s team compared to previous seasons. “A huge freshman class that came and more than three pitchers has given us more looks as a competitive team,” Thompson said.

With a roster full of newcomers, Thompson explains that the team is working hard to find their groove. “Chemistry of our team right now is growing,” said Thompson. “As such a young team we are learning day by day on how to play with each other.”

Last year, the team won seven games according to McKay, and Thompson and the rest of the team are looking to build on that. “I want to become closer as a team so we can trust each other on and off the field,” Thompson said. “I think that the NAC will underestimate us and we are going to open some eyes when they see us play.”

Freshman and second baseman Amber Grady said the transition from high school softball to the division three team was nerve wracking, but McKay and her teammates made her feel welcome. “We all support each other on and off the field,” said Grady. “It is nice to know that no matter what we will all have each others back.”

According to McKay, the team will be heading to Florida on March 25. Grady explained that the week-long trip is stacked with 3 double headers and one triple header. Although the team will be enjoying the warm weather, the games aren’t just for fun because the wins and losses count to their season. “These games are going to show us where we are at and where we stand. It will show us our strengths and weaknesses,” said Grady. “I am excited and ready to see us on the field and playing together.”