By Lea Shores
Staff reporter

We expect them to be there. The cheerleaders are at every home football and basketball game, rallying the crowd and supporting our school in competition. This past weekend the cheerleaders had a competition of their own. Saturday, the team traveled to Ottawa for the first Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Cheer and Dance exhibition.

Getting from the basketball court in Stewart to the competition floor at Ottawa was a long road for the squad.

Alissa Sheppard, communication senior, is captain of the team. She said, “We had to teach girls who have never cheered a day in their life. You have to teach them how to rally and how to work the crowd.”

Along with the challenge of teaching newcomers, Barbara White, cheerleading coach, struggled getting the entire team together for practice.

With night classes and other campus activities, it wasn’t often that the entire team was together. White made those practices count, by arranging times for the team to practice on the springboard floor at All Stars gym in Arkansas City.

For the meet, Sheppard said, the team had to prepare a 2 minute 15 second routine, complete with stunts, dancing and cheering.

Only five teams competed on Saturday and The Builders didn’t take one of the top places.

White said, “Their attitude was terrific and they put forth a lot of effort. It was a nice competition for their first time.”

Carmen Brammer, psychology sophomore, said, “Our stunts all went up really well. Everything hit and was solid. We also had great energy and all of our motions were sharp.”

Sheppard said, “It was more of a learning experience for us and the people who are going to do it next year.”

The team will have many more chances to get it right next year. White said, “They’re going to declare cheerleading a sport at SC and most of the KCAC. So we’ll have two or three competitions and then this regional one. Next year this competition will be a qualifier for nationals.”

For anyone interested in cheer, try-outs will take place on April 2.

“We’re going to be working on harder stunts. I need some people who tumble,” said White.

Brammer said, “Next year we hope to have more yell leaders on the team. They will help bring muscle to the stunts and make it easier to put up more advanced stunts.”

To watch a video of the team’s performance, visit www.kcacsports.com/bn.html.

Lea Shores is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail her at lea.shores@sckans.edu.

Edited by Samantha Gillis.