The University of La Verne cheerleading squad underwent major alterations in the past year from changes of captains to a new adviser. With so much change, the squad faces the challenge of working extra hard to obtain chemistry and confidence among the women.
The new captains are Kimberly Landis, Madison Steff, Andrea Garcia and Connie Elejdlae. New adviser Melissa Koers also joins the team. There are 24 members and eight returners. With such a young squad the team leaders face challenges such as direction and cooperation among the women.
The 2005-2006 University of La Verne cheer squad has grown from one to four captains within the last year to include sophomore Kimberly Landis, junior Connie Elejdlae, and sophomores Andrea Garcia and Madison Steff. The squad has a new adviser, Melissa Koers, who also works in the admissions office as the recruitment and enrollment director.
“The job of a captain definitely has its challenges,” Koers said. “The girls are doing a great job of dividing up the duties and making things work.”
Landis, 19, is a sophomore and has been on the cheer team for two years. She is majoring in psychology and plans to work as a psychologist in the prison system. She started to dance at seven years old and began studying dance in a studio at age 12. During high school Landis was on the drill team, which is very similar to a cheer team. It has more girls, longer routines and more detailed dance moves, without the cheering part.
“I wanted to perform and do something that kept me active, so I chose cheerleading,” Landis said.
Landis’ goals for being a captain are to continue to improve each year and hopefully to compete at a Division I level. She enjoys being a captain and having a chance to make something great out of the team.
“I like having a voice,” Landis said. “I can participate in change and try to improve the team.”
All four captains seemed to agree on what makes a good captain. A captain should be patient, have leadership skills, communication skills and commitment. Without these elements, it would be tough to manage a cheer squad.
Garcia, 18, is sophomore at ULV and has been on the team for two years. She is majoring in criminology and in the future she wants to work with juveniles. Garcia began cheerleading six years ago during her freshmen year of high school. Although she has no dance training, Garcia has choreographed many routines and enjoys seeing her finished product performed by her squad.
“Cheerleading was a way to open me up and let my confidence come out,” Garcia said. “It also has taught me discipline.”
Garcia has goals for both her team and herself. By being a cheerleader, she wants to help ULV become more school spirited. As for her team, she wants them to be prepared for the year ahead.
“I want our team to be ready and confident for competition,” Garcia said.
Steff, 19, is a sophomore and is currently undecided in her major. She has been cheerleading for five years; three of those were spent on a competition team. A competition team is far more skilled, serious cheerleading.
Steff, along with Landis and
Garcia, guides practice and administers weight training.
She says that cheerleading is a good way for her to stay active and have a good time.
“It’s a form of exercise and it’s a good way to spend my free time,” she said.
When it comes to the cheer squad, Steff wants them to work together and get along.
“We have the capability of doing a lot,” Steff said. “The girls are real positive and work hard.”
Elejdlae, 20, is a junior at ULV and the oldest captain. She is currently majoring in biology and plans to go to medical school. Connie began cheer in high school and has been cheerleading for six years.
She chose to continue in college because it was a good activity that she already had experience in.
Elejadlae is also the one who is in charge of the team’s budget, in which she works with her teammates and Koers to decide what is needed and where money will be spent.
She likes cheering because it is a good activity outside of class.
“It keeps me busy, gives me a challenge and is a way for me to get involved with people outside of class,” Elejadlae said.
New adviser Melissa A. Koers is also the recruitment and enrollment director at ULV.
Koers was involved with cheerleading during her high school and college years so she is well aware of what the women need to do.
She acts as the squad’s advocate to the school and helps them in obtaining what they need.
Koers, as well as the captains, want the squad to have fun.
They have been practicing daily, which also includes running and weight training.
Competition, as well as ULV athletic schedules, pressures the squad to strive for perfection. They have plans for two competitions although insurance problems might keep the women from competing.
Lindsey Gooding can be reached at email@example.com