Choiwing Kong ’16 & Jiarui Zhang ’16
The Cheerleading team at Merrimack College has 15 girls on their team from freshmen to seniors. The coach selects the team members through try-outs, and team members vote for the team captains. There is a try-out for next year (Fall 2014 and Spring 2015) on Saturday, April 26. There are some basic skills required but everyone at Merrimack can go to try-outs and have the chance to join the team. During compeitions, cheerleaders will show their skills to audiences such as stunts, jumps and dances etc to encourage our athletes and students. Except cheering for college, community service is a another significant part to cheerleaders. Every year, cheerleaders will be involved at least one community service project.
Nadine Holohan has been the cheerleading coach for the past 3 years. “She is experienced in coaching since she has over 20 years leading a cheer team,” said Nicole Mclver ‘14, who is a cheerleader on Merrimack’s cheerleading team. She has been a cheerleader since she was a freshman 4 years ago. They practice 4-6 hours, 3 days a week, either in the gym or off-campus. The cheerleading team is trying to build two teams–one team for games and another one for competitions. Cheerleaders on the team who are more talented can go to competitions and represent Merrimack.
This is the first year in Merrimack’s history that the cheerleading team went to a competition. On April 9th to 12th, they went to the NECA College competitions in Florida and won 4th place in the Challenger Cup. On March 1st, they got 2nd place in NECA competition in Connecticut and for the same competition, they got 1st place in Rhode Island on March 29th. Since they started attending more and more competitions for school, there are a lot of costs for them such as the uniform, trip fees and etc. However, school does not offer any scholarships for cheer team members but only gave little financial support for them because they have just started competing. “It would be good if school can support us more in the future,” said Nicole. The cheerleading team also goes to every home football game, and most of the home basketball games at Merrimack.