Monday, August 31, 2015

Working with Area High Schools

The cheerleaders moved onto campus Aug. 21st and have spent the past week at two-a-day practices and learning new skills at the University of Minnesota College Cheer Camp.  However, this past weekend we had the opportunity to work with some high school cheer teams from northern Minnesota.  Northwoods School, Chisholm and Nashwauk Cheer Teams asked us to join them for a day to teach them cheers, jumps and stunting.  So we loaded up (a lot of) cars and made the journey to Cook, MN.

Not only is this a chance for those schools to learn something new and to learn proper techniques, but it's a great way for us to be involved in our communities and sharing one of the things we are most passionate about.  Teaching someone else how to do something is also a great way for us to remember the mechanics of what we do, which helps us improve as well.  Often times, once you have done something so many times, you tend to get a little lax about the small things.  This was a great reminder of the importance of the little things to make everything better!

We were treated with such awesome hospitality!  One of our cheerleaders was celebrating her birthday that day and the high school teams made cupcakes, a mini cake, and sang "Happy Birthday."  They also made a taco lunch for us (mmmmmmm.......tacos) which was greatly appreciated.  Finally, the Nashwauk team made adorable cheerleaders out of suckers for all the teams!  We felt so welcomed and appreciated!   I hope we have some future Saints cheerleaders in those groups!

I think the day was a great success if you look at the smiles on everyone's faces!  Keep working, girls, and remember to smile! We are proud of you!


U of M Summer Camp

This year, it was a requirement for all of the CSS football cheerleaders to attend a camp on stunting put on by the University of Minnesota Twin Cities All-Girl and Co-Ed cheer squads. This required that all the CSS cheerleaders move on to campus on Friday August 20th and then leave for the U of M camp the morning of August 21st. There were two other college squads there that were from Steven's Point and Stout. We had roughly 5-6 hours of stunting each day for the two days of camp and were all definitely feeling the sore muscles/joints/bones/bruises in every part of our bodies. Ice and ibuprofen were our best friends for the weekend as well as the endless amounts of wrist tape and good ole H2O. Through all the pain and soreness, we bonded so much as a team and got through it with smiles and high fives for everyone. We not only accomplished small things such as getting more solid on basic preps and extensions, but successfully did a 3 high, A-frame pyramid and a Swedish Falls pyramid that will hopefully be showcased in the CSS homecoming routine this year! None of that would have been possible if it weren't for the support and sense of team that everyone showed throughout the weekend. It was a great opportunity to learn from some of the best college cheerleaders in the state and to learn so much about ourselves as a team and what we can accomplish. Watch out CSS community! You have a new and improved cheer team in the house and we're ready to knock your blue and gold socks off with all of the new and cool things we've taken away from camp! :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Kicking off the 2015-2016 Cheer Season!

It may be summer, but as I have said before, there is no off-season in cheerleading.  At the conclusion of last year we started reviewing what went well, what could have gone better and setting plans in motion so that we are constantly moving forward and improving.  We want this experience to be worthwhile and fun, and we want to keep raising the stakes.  All it takes is one person to say  "wow-that was amazing" and you want to hear it again and again, so you have to work harder and harder to wow the crowd!

Every year the football cheerleading squad holds a three-day mini-camp to get a jump start on the fall.  The squad is on campus and together for all three days.  Each day there is 8-10 hours of practice, shared meals, and team bonding games and activities.  We also take this time to go over all of the policies, procedures and expectations to make sure everyone is on the same page and ready to go.  There are a lot of laughs, a lot of sweat, and comparing bruises is a popular past time.

This year, our football squad is the biggest it has ever been.  We have 20 girls, which means we have the capacity to do some bigger and badder stunts.  We also have probably a record number of incoming freshmen - seven will be joining us this fall!  This is a great opportunity for them to be welcomed into the CSS community, get to know the campus and their teammates, and hopefully help with some of those first year jitters.

Overall, it's a great weekend for the squad and I can't wait to get started!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting Ready for Try-Outs!!!

Fall 2015 Football Cheerleading Squad Try-Outs
Saturday April 18, 2015
Burns Wellness Commons, Fitness Room

One of the biggest lies ever told is that cheerleading season is over!  Cheer knows no season, and when one sport ends, it's time to start planning for the next year!

Try-outs are already scheduled for the Fall 2015 Football Cheer Squad.  Try-outs last one full day.  During that time we will teach you a cheer, dance, jumps and stunting.  At the end of the day, there will be an official try-out, but to be honest, the whole day is a try-out.  We are looking for people (men and women) with good attitudes who are willing to work hard.  We want to see how you react when you fall or get frustrated (because it will happen).  We want to see if you shy away from new things, or jump in with both feet!  (Those who have a background in dance, cheer or athletics tend to be able to pick up the movements a bit quicker, but if you don't have that - we still want to see you!).

You don't need to pre-register...just show up!  Bring a water bottle and wear work-out clothes (shorts are best) and athletic or cheer shoes.

What does it take to be a football cheerleader?
-A great attitude
-Willingness to work hard
-A big smile and friendly personality
-School spirit

Football cheerleaders get to do a few special things that the other squads don't have the opportunity to do:
-Perform at Homecoming
-3 day overnight during the summer
-Attend the University of Minnesota College Cheer Camp in August
-Move onto campus early

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at  I will be glad to answer them!  I hope to see you at our try-outs this spring!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Performance 2015

This year was the first year that the two winter squads (basketball and hockey) came together to put on a pretty kick butt half time performance at the last CSS Men's Basketball game. We went through quite a few ups and downs in the preparation for this performance, but we became a much tighter team that grew together in so many ways. Between issues about being ready on time, concussions, hand injuries, and ankle injuries, everything fell together for the performance on Saturday, February 21st. The half time performance wasn't originally supposed to be on this day because it was already the day of the cheer clinic, but due to the issues mentioned before the performance had to be moved to this day.
I had never been a part of a performance such as this. I was nervous and excited when we started practices but we had soon realized that we were going to need more time than we had allowed ourselves. I am so happy that we took that extra time to get everything nailed and tight for the performance so that way we could perform everything to the best of our abilities. Because the cheer clinic was all day that day, we knew we were going to be exhausted and basically everyone relied on each other and adrenaline. We all pushed so hard and really acted like a team in the weeks preceding the performance. We proved to ourselves and each other that we could be flexible and make things work in the face of injury and troubles that popped up, and that we could pull through to create something that everyone was proud to be a part of. We took CSS Cheerleading to a whole new level with this performance and nothing will beat running off the court after the last few seconds of the performance just whooping, hollering, and hugging one another in pure joy. It was a great high to end the winter sport cheer seasons on.
After countless hours of hard practices, hundreds of bruises, multiple doses of ibuprofen, and ice pack abuse on every body part, we had all finally gotten everything down as solid as we could. Stunts had become perfected and everyone could do the dance in their sleep by the end.  Under the amazing direction of hockey captain Nicole, choreography help of football captain Jaiden, and everyone's unwavering committment, everything came together successfully just in time for the performance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teaching the next generation of Saint's Cheerleaders...

The third Cheer Clinic hosted at The College of St Scholastica marked a celebratory end to the 2014/2015 cheering season for the Saint's. Over 50 animated little girls, aged between Kindergarten through to 7th Grade, geared up in tu-tu's, sparkles and bows in preparation for their day spent with their mentors learning dances, cheers and stunts.

The Cheer Clinic hosts all budding cheerleaders, boys and girls, from around the Duluth area for a full day of practice alongside college cheerleaders. The day is focused on teaching them the basics of cheerleader in order to spark an interest in the growing sport, whilst also having fun. The Clinic is a primary fundraising event for the Saint's to help pay for equipment and practice material, however, this is not the main goal of the day for each individual.

"If you ever feel like giving up...just remember there's a little girl watching who wants to be just like you."

The fact that someone as little as a Kindergartener sees you as their hero and aspires to be like you is enough to remind anyone that the focus of the day is not on individual gain. The focus is to give a child an inspiring, fun-filled and exciting day that has the possibility to make their dream come true or make them feel a little step closer to it. On-top of that the day is full of non-stop dancing, cheering, games and smiles...what better way to send a Saturday!

Each participant received a t-shirt and pom-poms in order for them to perform as a team at half-time of the women's basketball games. When all our little cheerleaders entered the gym the Basketball team were loosing...but with the encouragement of our loud chanting, cheering and pom-pom rustling, they pulled it back at half time to remain in the lead until the final buzzer. The half time performance led by our very own Saint's Cheerleader / Dance Choreographer - Sammi, was fantastic as everyone showed off the skills they had learnt at the Clinic.

What an exciting day it was for all!!!

The timing for the Cheer Clinic this year presented the team with a tight and busy schedule as it coincided with the Winter Performance. Choreographing and learning new dances and cheers to be taught on clinic day, as well as rehearsing our own performance meant that a lot of rest was needed the week beforehand. Nonetheless, the Clinic was a SUCCESS! The children who attended were a delight to teach and interact with which made our jobs easier. Feedback from the day was highly positive from both parents and children. This only goes to show that a little hard work, dedication and motivating words from our Cheer Mom really pays off;

"I appreciate your help and honouring the commitment that you made. It truly speaks to your character and just shows that when I tell people that my Cheerleaders are the best girls ever, I am just speaking the truth." - Becky Brenna.

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's not all fun and games...

Putting together a performance is hard work.  From deciding on choreography to the actual performance, there is so much to be done!  Hours and hours are put in...there are tears, frustrations, bruises and injuries.  There are victories and accomplishments, and there are set backs.  But it's all about the final product.

As a cheerleader, I always got a little angry at people who said cheerleading was so easy.  EASY!?!?!  Now, I think that it is a bit of a compliment.  Because that's our make it look easy.  To make it look effortless.  To make it look like we do this stuff in our sleep.  They don't see the sweat on the mat, the bruises under our arms - the ibuprofen and ice packs.  They don't see attempt after attempt at failed stunts.  They see what we want them to at our very best!

So we will keep pushing.  We will keep putting in long hours in the gym, and practicing in our rooms.  We will keep trying until we get it right.  Until it looks like we are ready to take center stage.  And then...we will knock your socks off!