Athlete Profile: Rebecca Christensen

By Nader Ihmoud

College/Team: Columbia Renegades

Sport: Cheerleading

Age/Major: junior, art & design

Rebecca Christensen’s cheering career dates back to her middle school days, before she joined the local Cheer Illinois Athletics chapter in Bensenville during her senior year of high school. Christensen said she learned the most about the sport during her time in the cheer program.

Now the captain of Columbia’s cheer team is working to secure funds so the team can move out of its developmental stages. Christensen sat down with The Chronicle to discuss her team’s condition and her strategy for improvement.

The Chronicle: How do you think you are doing as captain of the cheer team?

Rebecca Christensen: I think I’m relatively organized, and I like to pride myself [on] motivating people. Last year, we had a lot of people join Columbia’s cheer team [who had] never cheered before [and] didn’t know anything about it.

Where would you like the team to be at the end of

the semester?

I hope to have increased our team to 25 members. We are [at the] 18 mark right now. I hope we have enough money through our fundraising to buy the uniforms that we want. We don’t have uniforms right now, so that is our No. 1 goal. We can’t compete without those. [We’re] probably not looking to compete realistically until next semester, but for this semester, our goal is to really work

on fundraising.

What has been the greatest moment so far as captain?

This is more of a personal thing, but there is a lot of three-person stunts that I wanted to try versus four- or five – person stunts. They become more difficult the fewer people you have underneath, and there are several groups on our team that are able to hit three-person stunts. So that’s been really exciting. It’s something I’ve never done before on my competitive team or in high school. I’m pretty proud of it.

Are you guys going to cheer for any Columbia teams?

Our constitution states we are a competitive team. What I’ve talked about with my team is [that] I personally can’t go to games at night. It was something that was considered last year but [has] not [been] pursued.  I guess it’s possible that you’ll see us at games eventually. Right now we are trying to focus on our team and where we need to be. You’ll definitely see us at Columbia events.

How would you define the challenges of being a cheer team at Columbia?

I’d say one of the biggest challenges is having everyone at one practice. Like I said, we have 18 people on our roster right now. Consistently, 8 to 10 people come to practice. I hope that second semester we can lay out our practice schedule ahead of time and ask everyone to not classes [during practice].

Where do you want to see the team when you graduate in 2014?

I want people to stay in the program [and] eventually a 36-person team would be ideal for Columbia, especially with the size of our school. Hopefully in the future it won’t be a problem to have a 36-person team.