Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Cheer Team Showcases National Routine

Cheer Team Showcases National Routine
Wade Sullivan

After six months of preparation, Marshall Cheerleading had a showcase of their National Cheer Association Collegiate Nationals routine at the Cam Henderson Center on Sunday, April 7.

Senior Leah Huffman, who is competing in her fourth NCA championship, said she has enjoyed this year a lot, but it’s a bittersweet feeling being her last competition.

“It’s very bittersweet just coming from all the years that I’ve cheered,” she said. “Just going out there with my team for the very last time is very sentimental to me.”

Huffman, who has had four different coaches in her four years at Marshall, said for her last year of cheering with the Herd, she couldn’t have asked for a better coach than her current one. She also said of all the teams she has been on at Marshall that this one is number one.

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“She is my fourth coach in four years, and I couldn’t pick anybody else who is more determined to make us hit,” she said. “This team has a bond like no other; it does not matter if you are having a good day or a bad day, you will always have a teammate who will lift you up and encourages you to do your best.”

Kourtney Sandefur, who is in her first year coaching the cheer team, said the group she inherited believes in true transparency, and that’s why they are doing so well.

“They’ll tell you that I believe in full transparency,” she said. “My expectations were never a secret for them, and they learned, and they grew very quickly into the team they are today.”

While preparing for this moment, Huffman said there have been quite a few challenges, especially freshman leaving the team.

“This year, we have had a lot of people quit,” she said. “When it comes to cheer, we cheer basketball, volleyball, football and all sorts of events. As a freshman, it’s so different coming in here, but every time a person quits, we make sure to tell them it’s okay.”

From a coaching standpoint, Sandefur said some of the greatest challenges the team faces are due to timing.

“The challenges that we face are the timing of everything,” she said. “In addition to preparing for competition, we also have to cheer ball games, and we have to be prepared for travel.”

Sandefur also said even though changes had to be made to the routine in the past couple of weeks, the team took those changes well and put their best foot forward.

“With every sport, you go through your season where things happen in your journey as an athlete,” she said. “We decided to overcome the challenges and work with the strengths we had and found a way to put our best foot forward.”

At NCA nationals, the cheer team will be performing their two minute and 15 second long routine twice: Once on Thursday and once on Friday. The Thursday score is worth 25% of the final score, and the Friday score is worth 75% of their final score.

The cheer team will be competing in advanced all-girl division 1A against nine other division one schools. Some of these schools include Clemson University, Louisville University and Oklahoma State University.

The first performance will be at 5:56 pm on Thursday, April 11.

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