Cheer team ready to bring it on

By Nader Ihmoud

With the growth of Columbia’s sports program, the Renegades staff has made an extra effort this year to legitimize the teams and programs. After cheer team captain, Brooke Burgert, sophomore film and video major, turns in the recognition packet for the cheer team, and the Renegades’ board members review and approve it, the team will be official, according to Abby Cress, vice president of the Renegades.

Until the Renegades cheer team is official, its members will not practice in the fitness studio but instead in the lobby of Residence Center 731. S. Plymouth Court. Only registered teams are allowed to reserve the studio.

Currently, the cheer squad has more than 20 members, including three men. According to Burgert, it is still accepting new members and students should not fall for the misconception that one needs experience to join. It’s a “learning experience,” and the team as a whole is at a beginner’s level, she said, but added she was impressed by the team’s skill.

“We are really good for a starting team, especially at Columbia, and we have a lot of girls showing up who know gymnastics,” Burgert said. “The problem is only people who have done cheerleading have been showing up.”

Once the team is official, the team plans to cheer at the men’s basketball games and school events, such as kick-off rallies and Open House. Performing at events will have to be approved by Student Engagement and the school’s administration. The Renegades have not yet contacted either.

“The cheer team is brand new, so we haven’t gone that far ahead yet,” Cress said. “[But] hopefully in the future, they will be able to perform at Convocation

and Manifest.”

The basketball team has games set up for next semester against teams in the surrounding area, such as Illinois Institute of Technology, she added. Because the Renegades do not have a home court, the cheer team will travel with the team and cheer for the players while on the road.

The cheer team also expects to compete in competitions. Most competitions only require teams to sign up, while others may charge a fee to join, according to Burgert.

Because a cheer team is typically made up of 10 members, Burgert has split the team into two sections: one for cheering and the other for competing. Some of the team’s members are in both sections.

Burgert has been attempting to start the team for approximately a month and is excited that the team is showing promise. Dedication is key to a successful cheer team, she said.

“I know who is coming to practices and who is serious about showing up,” Burgert said.