Written for The Argo by Elana Augustus
From getting the crowd hype, doing stunts to wow the audience, and cheering on the basketball team to bring a win home, the cheer team is a very important part of Stockton University. Every year many women try out with the hopes of getting on the team but in 2020, things drastically changed. When COVID-19 hit Stockton University everything was shut down, and unfortunately the cheer team was one of them. This year things looked up for the cheer team, but with some minor changes. I was gracious enough to sit down and speak to one of the cheer captions, Simone Cyrus, to get a deeper look into the Stockton Cheer Team. I was interested to see how the team is holding up with COVID-19 so the first question I asked Simone was how was it readjusting to the COVID policy this year?
Cyrus said, “Readjusting to the COVID policy was a little bit of a struggle. Starting during tryouts week and handling the vaccination requirements was difficult.”
According to Cyrus, if a student was not vaccinated they needed to present negative tests Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
“Luckily all students on the team are vaccinated,” Cyrus added.
Simone stated that they have to stay masked while in practice and on the sidelines during games, they cannot have connecting stunts such as a pyramid, and they cannot switch stunt groups.
Simone said “It is a little hard because we can’t easily switch people to different stunt groups like we were able to pre-COVID. Also, practice is lengthy and game days can be long, so wearing a mask for so long can be hard to breathe.”
On the brighter side, Simone spoke about how originally they were not allowed to stunt but luckily in October the decision was revisited and we were allowed to stunt.
To conclude our interview with Simone I decided to discuss the dynamic between the men’s and women’s basketball games. She expressed how as for routines and sideline cheering, there isn’t a difference between women’s and men’s basketball. There does tend to be a bigger crowd for men’s games but we still perform, cheer, and support the women’s team the same way we would for a men’s game. The team likes a mixture of both since for the men’s game we have a bigger crowd to perform for but also women’s games are fun because the crowd doesn’t tend to be as loud and we’re not fighting to be louder than the crowd and losing our breath for cheers.
Overall both are fun and the cheer team becomes very excited during the games. It was a great pleasure to sit down with Simone and get an inside look at the cheer team. In the near future, we hope things slowly go back to normal for the cheer team and they can enjoy things how they used to. You can see the Stockton Cheerleading Team live in action at the next basketball game on December 8th, 2021 at 8 pm for the Men’s, and Women’s at 6 pm.