The UD cheer team has been much anticipating returning to the UD Arena. Photo courtesy of Rick Roshto.
Tori Miller | Staff Writer
Last week, the University of Dayton men’s basketball team had their debut exhibition game for the upcoming season, which gave UD cheerleaders their first reunion for the season.
Since the 2021-2022 basketball season has been much anticipated, three senior cheerleaders and captains shared what they missed most about being away from the arena and what they are most excited about.
To get ready for the hyped-up basketball season, UD’s cheerleaders have dedicated themselves to practicing hard weekly, learning chants, as well as dances and stunts.
Julia Black, senior cheerleader, shared about practices and skill building.
“We meet twice a week for formal practice and have workouts as a team twice a week as well,” Black said. “Most of our preparation for our year happens in the week before class begins in August where we have a camp to build our skills and come up with new material for the season.”
Normally, the basketball cheerleaders arrive early on campus in the fall semester in order to have a dedicated cheer camp. This is where the team learns all of their chants, cheers, fight song, band dances, stunts and other UD traditions.
According to Laura Barrett, senior cheerleader, “With the pandemic, to prepare for this 2021-2022 season we have been utilizing every minute of practice to teach these skills to our new athletes. It’s been a lot of material for them to learn in a month, but they are doing an amazing job!”
With all of the hard work and dedication that went into preparing for the 2021-2022 season, the seniors revisited their favorite aspects of gameday and what makes cheering in UD Arena memorable.
Senior cheerleader Maggie Tepe stated that she is “excited about the electricity of the UD arena and fans” because not being able to cheer at the basketball games last year due to COVID-19 was difficult. Now, getting back into the swing of the season makes the hardships worthwhile.
Another gameday tradition involves “UD cheerleaders exchanging candy and sports drinks to get our body ready for a long night that’s ahead of us in the arena. It feels good to be able to cheer on my teammates again in warmups and as we perform together on the court,” Barrett said.
Black said that “right before we run out of the tunnel at the beginning of a basketball game, the girls huddle and have a little chant we do to hype us and the players for the game.”
With so many fun rituals and ways to get pumped up for the basketball games, there is never a dull moment for the UD cheering squad.
With the overarching impacts of COVID-19, UD’s basketball cheerleading has been antsy to return to a normal season. The seniors have been ready to make up for the lost season, but are also sad that this might be their last official season in a UD cheerleading uniform.
Barrett said, “Joining the UD Cheerleading Program was the closest thing to feeling at home with the amazing relationships I’ve built with my teammates and coaches. Without the team, I would still feel lost. UD has become my new home and I’m not ready to say goodbye at graduation.”
The basketball season cheerleaders are ready to take the season head on, give all of their effort into making it memorable and cheer on their beloved team.