By Caroline Ryan
For the first time ever, the LIU Post cheerleading team will be competing at the National Championship Level. The team will compete in the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) College Cheerleading Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla., from April 9-11.
Thirty members of the team will compete against college teams from all around the nation representing their universities’ different divisions. To get invited to nationals, the cheer team had a cheer camp instructor fly in from Oklahoma to teach the team the material, and evaluate how well they preformed.
The cheerleaders practice a minimum of 12 hours a week, and also practice at events such as sports games, community service activities and tournaments at which LIU Post athletic teams participate. The team works on game-day skills, tumbling, stunts, jumps, routine, stretching, and or conditioning.
Right now, the team is in the process of choreographing the routine and practicing to prepare themselves for the competition. They are focusing on doing various exhibitions and performances to help them feel more comfortable and confident with the routine. The last performance the cheerleaders had in was during the televised games for the women’s basketball team on March 1 during half time.
“Being on the team gives you a sense of teamwork and unity,” Said Tia Henderson, one of the cheerleaders. “We have a lot of skills and potential and we are going for first place. We have had our ups and downs but we are a family and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”
Coach Katelin Townsend has led the cheerleading team since just this past summer. “My favorite part about coaching is watching the athletes overcome obstacles not only in cheer but also in their academic/ personal lives,” Townsend said. “Being an LIU Promise Coach, I have gotten to know many of my athletes on more than just an athletic level. Teaching them to set goals and strive to be a better version of themselves is very fulfilling.”
The cheerleading team is hard at work to raise money for their trip. The total cost of the trip is $30,000, but their goal is to raise another $15,000-18,000. To help fundraise for the team’s participation in the national championship, you can access their Go Fund Me account at gofund.me/LIUPostCheer, or you can purchase a Spirit Calendar Fundraiser. This $10 calendar has pictures of the cheerleaders in various places on campus.
Townsend, along with the assistant coach, Matthew Blanar, took pictures and created the calendar themselves, and then sent it to a printing company to have it made. Each cheerleader is responsible for selling 30 calendars, but anyone who is looking to buy one and does not know any of the cheerleaders may purchase one in the LIU Promise Office, located on the second floor of Hillwood Commons.
The team is also starting a FanCloth Fundraiser in which anyone can purchase LIU Post-themed attire. The attire can be purchased by filling out a form from one of the cheerleaders or visiting the Promise Office. To find out more information regarding the fundraisers, you can contact Coach Townsend at Katelin.Townsend@liu.edu.