On November 4 through 6 the McDaniel Cheerleading squad held their annual try-outs, just one of many it’s held in it’s over ten year existence at McDaniel College.
Although McDaniel has inconsistently had similar groups in the past, it’s only been since the Fall of 1998 that McDaniel has continually had a Cheerleading Squad. Coach Prodehl has been head coach of the squad since it reformed in 1998.
The squad’s main purpose is to increase school spirit, according to Prodehl. Sophomore cheerleader Tiffani Scott says the squad “brings spirit to the games.” Another sophomore cheerleader, Karla Saravia said, “We get the crowd hyped.”
However, this squad does more than boost school spirit. According to Prodehl the squad frequently volunteers in the community and makes presents for the sport players. This past fall the squad cheered on walkers at the Musclar Dystrophy Walk, the Heart Walk, and the Multiple Sclerosis Walk. Prodehl also said the cheerleaders made goodie bags for the football players which they gave them at the homecoming game; and they’re currently working on making signs for the senior basketball players.
The squad values reaching out to the community, but stays continuously focused on their skills. The squad is “always looking to improve”, said Prodehl. She said that despite their small size of only 8 cheerleaders they’re still an accomplished squad. Prodehl said they perform three level high stunts (when cheerleaders lift each other), and are incorporating new styles of dances to their half time routines. She said they’ve recently started doing “stepping”, which is a style of dance that involves stomping feet rhythmically.
However being a small squad does have its drawbacks. Saravia said their size prohibits them from performing many stunts. “It’s difficult because we’re so small,” she said. According to Saravia recruiting more people is an important priority for the squad this season. Saravia said that previous experience wasn’t necessary to be on the squad. “I’ve never cheered before, but it’s not hard to pick-up,” she said. Saravia suggested people interested come with friends to make them less nervous. “It just takes a few people, and then more people will come, but if no one takes the initiative then it’s not going to happen.”
This season four new people tried out; two made the squad and the other two will continue to practice with the squad to see if their potential can be further developed. Prodehl said this is the first try-out she’s had when none of the people trying out have any previous experience cheering.
Jenny Trigueros, a freshman trying out, said she was interested in the “whole new experience” she felt she would gain from being on the squad. Megan Cooke, another freshman trying out, said she most looked forward to getting to know all the people on the squad.
The coach and the cheerleaders are very close. Prodehl described the squad as a “ready-made family”. It would be hard for the cheerleaders not to bond in the ten or more hours per week they spend practicing. Additionally the girls regularly hold bonding activities. At try-outs Prodehl discussed plans with the squad to go bowling. Prodehl also said the squad habitually holds pasta nights and movie nights, and they eat dinner together after every practice.
Scott said all the people on the squad get along well. Saravia also described the squad’s relationship as like a family. “We all care about each other and look out for each other,” she said.
Prodehl said people interested in joining the squad after the season has begun should contact her. Scott said it was more difficult to join during a season when the person lacked experience, but it is still possible. Prodehl said the person would most likely practice with the squad for a short period to see if they have potential that can be developed.
For more information on the Cheerleading Squad contact Mitch Alexander in the College Activities Office, or Coach Prodhel at 410-371-8109.