The WIU cheerleaders have so much Western pride and they always get the crowd pumped up whenever they cheer. If we didn’t have cheerleaders, I don’t think the games wouldn’t be as exciting. I love to watch all of their daring stunts and they always look so put together in their purple attire.
Cheerleading at Western has had around since the 1920’s. Western’s first Homecoming celebration was in 1923, the same year the WIU cheerleaders debuted. From that year on, the Western Cheerleading team has been a part of many Homecoming and Pep Rally events. One of the Western’s cheer captains, Kayli Morrison, explained to me why having a cheerleading team at Western is so important.
“I think cheerleading is important to a University because it is tradition. Even though we don’t bring any money to athletics, we still represent the University in a positive way. Cheerleading has changed so much since it first started, but at WIU, it is still our main focus to represent Western and get fans excited and involved with athletics,” Morrison said.
Morrison is a fifth year senior so this is her fifth year being on the team and her fourth season as captain. She has been cheering since junior high school. She said that the WIU Cheerleading team practices about three times a week and complete group workouts every Wednesday. Cheerleading has given her a special sense of pride for WIU athletics.
“Without cheerleading, I probably wouldn’t have any idea what is going on with athletics. Because I’m a cheerleader, I am so involved with what is going on campus and I think that has definitely given me more WIU pride,” Morrison said.
Bryce Speaker, a junior marketing major at Western, is the other captain on the team. He has been cheering since his freshman year of high school; this is his third year on the WIU team. Being on WIU’s Cheerleading team has given him a lot of pride for Western and he uses that pride to get the crowd excited during games.
“Cheerleading has given me more Western pride because it has given me the opportunity to meet so many different athletes and appreciate all the hard work all athletes put in to be successful. As a cheerleader, it is our job to lead and motivate the crowd so I would for sure call myself a proud Leatherneck,” Speaker said.
The WIU Cheerleading Team doesn’t compete, necessarily, but they do participate in exhibitions which are similar to a non-competitive showcase where school teams perform and show their routines. “Traveling to exhibitions is really exciting and fun because at exhibitions we are not competitors but rather performers that are supposed to be ‘crowd pleasers’ and impress the audience,” Speaker said.
For more information on the WIU Cheerleading team, visit http://www.goleathernecks.com/sports/2014/6/5/cheer_0605142738.aspx