BY EMILY DOERSAM
On April 7, 2015, the McKendree Cheerleading squad made their way to Daytona, Florida to compete in the 2015 NCA College Cheerleading Nationals. They competed in prelims at the Ocean Center on April 9. After speaking with head coach Bianca Timmerman, I learned quite a few things about this year’s team and this year’s competition.
There are 45 cheerleaders, but only 20 of them compete. Although only 20 compete, every cheerleader has the opportunity to go and support the team. Each cheerleader has to attend all practices, maintain a 2.0 GPA, and must be a full time student. They will be going to Daytona with 32 cheerleaders.
Getting to where the team is now hasn’t been an easy feat. I spoke with Coach
Timmerman and asked her how it was possible for them to get to Nationals. She responded with “School funds, boosters, donations, and fundraisers all help pay for the trip. The squad had to attend a camp earlier in the year and display/perform skills taught there. At the end of the camp there was a miniature competition where we had the chance to earn bids to Nationals. We got one!” Her national’s team practices five days a week for at least three hours. They’ve put in a lot of work, including a 35 hour choreography weekend and giving up their spring break. This squad has really shown their dedication.
After finding out all of the details about the trip, I asked Coach Timmerman some questions about her personal thoughts on the team. I asked her what the biggest struggle was going to be and her response was “The biggest struggle for us is consistency. The team has all the skills and drive they need to hit this routine, but they’re not consistent yet. I would say confidence is another thing. This is by far the hardest routine I’ve been a part of, including when I cheered, and this team knows they need confidence too. They need to just understand and execute everything they know to gain the confidence in themselves that all of us coaches have in them.” Her opinion on how the team will do has been well
thought out. Like any coach does, you have to look at every aspect. She says that “I cannot speak for the team, but what I am excited for is for this team to go down and own it. If we hit this routine, we will be nothing but successful. This team has the potential to take home big placements at Nationals. I’m excited for them to experience what college cheer is about and to finally get recognition for what they do! If the squad pushes their limits, breathes, hits the routine, and displays confidence, this team will definitely come home with some hardware and maybe even something sparkly!”