By Bailey Ray
Texas State Cheerleading is known for its profound program and dominating game-day atmosphere.
The cheerleading squad consists of an all-women and coed team.
The Texas State Cheerleading squad was recognized as Game Day Champion last year at the Universal Cheerleading Association summer camp. More than 30 Division I universities competed at the camp.
The cheerleading program began game-day preparation June 18 and has been full speed ever since. The cheerleading squad, along with other athletic teams, are taking precautions to be sure to maintain the health and wellness of every athlete during the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas State cheerleading head coach Jocelyn Stephens was one of the first college coaches to reintroduce college game-day.
“We are following strict measures to be able to practice and be present on game day. From symptom screenings as well as wearing masks, we pride ourselves to continue to be ambassadors for the university and athletics,” Stephens said.
The cheerleading team is positioned in the North end zone seats of Bobcat Stadium on game-day and practices social distancing.
Four-year coed member Sarah Killian is aware of the ever-changing circumstances but takes pride in the opportunities the team has been given.
“Going into this year, I had a feeling things would be extremely different in comparison to my last years on this team. This new game-day atmosphere has changed many things for my team and I,” Killian said.
Killian said what she misses most is interacting with fans, alumni, kids, students and athletes.
“There’s something about being able to communicate and interact with those who love this university as much as we do. That really makes the game-day experience unforgettable,” Killian said.
These athletes are required to wear facemask coverings while supporting athletic teams and throughout their practice times.
Fourth-year all women’s team member Emily Nichols explained the adjustment to pandemic regulations.
“We have had to adjust to life in the stands rather than life on the field. There are several traditions and many parts of cheerleading we cannot perform in the stands, however, we have made new traditions that we hope will involve fans in new ways,” Nichols said.
The Texas State cheerleading team has set the example for safety on the sidelines and continues to do so through the athletic seasons.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has changed the game-day atmosphere, these athletes’ schedules have merely stayed the same. Cheerleaders are required to complete study hall hours as well as participate in daily weight-lifting workouts.
Third-year coed member Julie Guajardo said that not having access to the field does not mean the cheerleaders are not present through this year’s athletic seasons.
“Even though we have zero access to the field this year, we are still working hard as if we did. We continue to practice as well as having team workouts twice a week; with this comes the reminder that just because we are not on the field or the court, we were given an opportunity to adapt to the circumstances,” Guajardo said.
The Texas State cheerleading team welcomed 19 new members this season.
First-year coed member Drake Munoz said he hopes for a return to normal cheerleading.
“Not having access to cheer on the sidelines of the field and the court was a hard pill to swallow, but we still have a job to do every game day. Taking precautions and being aware of the safety protocols is what will allow us to be closer to normal cheerleading,” Munoz said.
Texas State Cheerleading members feel confident about the adjustments of the new game-day atmosphere conditions.
“The true character of a team is defined by the adversity they face. This is just presenting us with the challenge to be better for each other,” Stephens said.
The cheerleading team will continue to be present for all athletic events and is excited for the future of Bobcat athletics.
Featured image by Jamie Thatcher.