MU Cheer to Host Annual Junior Thundering Herd Cheer Clinic


Richard Crank

Marshall University cheerleaders and Marco sing the university’s alma mater following a home basketball game against WKU on Jan. 12, 2019.

Head Coach Jake Gilliam and assistant Candice Gilliam are preparing for their fifth annual junior Thundering Herd cheer clinic since taking over the coaching positions for the Marshall University cheerleading squad.

The junior cheer clinic is scheduled to take place in Gullickson Gym at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The junior Thundering Herd participants are arranged to perform pregame at the Marshall men’s basketball game against the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners at approximately 6:50 p.m., with tipoff set for 7 p.m at the Cam Henderson Center. The clinic is open to all children who are in Pre-K through 8th grade.

“This year we are actually expanding it up to 8th grade and adding stunt technique,” assistant coach Candice Gilliam said. “It’s really exciting. In years past we have done cheers, dances, jumps, and last year we added tumbling.”

Candice Gilliam also said that they have listened to parents to see what they would like to see incorporated into the camp. Stunt technique was something that sparked interest and will be performed for the first time.

Throughout the cheer clinic, the participants will be able to meet the current Marshall cheerleaders, take pictures with Marco, receive a “Marshall Junior Cheerleader” t-shirt, be provided food and play games. There will be opportunities to work with the Thundering Herd cheerleaders and coaches on the performance to be showcased before the basketball game.

“I think this is going to be our biggest clinic,” Candice Gilliam said. “We’re well over 100 (participants) and I’m really thrilled about that.”

Sophomore cheerleader Abby Hudrlik will be participating in her second junior Thundering Herd cheer clinic. Hudrlik said her favorite part about the clinic is getting to know the kids and having them come up to her knowing that they look up to her and the other cheerleaders.

“I just love seeing the looks on the kids’ faces because I remember being a little girl and being that age and being so excited to even see a cheerleader and go to cheer camps,” Hudrlik said. “I know they are going to be excited because last year, they were all so excited and had so much fun. It’s just going to be a great experience.”

Head coach Jake Gilliam said that the goal is to reach the whole demographic at Marshall with cheerleading being a popular sport.

“We get kids to come in, excited about Marshall and college athletics by being on the court. We want them to have that ownership that is preparing them to go to Marshall,” head coach Jake Gilliam said. “It’s a recruiting tool. It’s something that we want them to be a part of and love our university when they are really young and that kind of leans them into being Marshall fans whenever they get older.”

Candice Gilliam said that former Marshall cheerleaders attend the camp and bring in their own children to participate. Jake and Candice Gilliam said that they have seen the same children attend the cheer clinic for multiple years.

There will be walk-up registration available at the start of the cheer clinic check-in area and anyone from Pre-K through 8th grade is welcome to join.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].