BY KENNETH EKERT
Whether the score is close, far, or tied, the Sacred Heart University cheerleading team encourages fans at football and basketball games to get on their feet and make noise.
The team is divided into two separate teams, the Red team and the White team. One of the four Red captains, junior Kayleigh Rachiele, had been looking forward to this season even before it began. Rachiele and her teammates had attended the Universal Cheerleaders Association Camp during the summer at Sacred Heart.
“We learned more elite skills this year and really kept up with the more advanced teams at camp which is a first for us,” said Rachiele.
Third year coach CJ Sereno, divides the cheerleaders based on how well her team wants to do both nationally and on game days.
“The difference in teams does not affect who cheers at which game,” said Sereno. “Both teams are required to cheer at football and basketball games but White cheers more at basketball games since Red is so busy preparing for Nationals.”
In addition to aiming for Nationals, Rachiele also wants to serve as a role model for her team, especially for the freshmen.
“As a captain of two years and only being a junior, my goal is to set the best example and be the best leader for my team as I can be,” said Rachiele. “It’s true, and honestly from my time being captain I think we as a cheer team and program have grown drastically and I want to keep it going.”
The cheerleaders on White want to continue to shine on the football field and basketball court as they get to show off their skills.
“Games are a great opportunity for the girls to showcase the skills they’ve been working on throughout practice,” said Sereno. “At every home game I expect the girls to be clean, sharp, and effective in leading the crowd.”
Junior White captain Erica Condon, relies on her team to keep the crowd in the game from start to finish with chants and halftime performances. Off the field, Condon wants the whole team to continue to work on skills and become bonded closer as a team.
“The most important thing about being successful in cheerleading is by working as a team, without one person the entire routine won’t work,” said Condon.
With Nationals approaching for the Red team, Sereno has made sure her team has the right mindset in terms of team goals and individual goals.
“We sit as a team and discuss the skills that we would like to try and what we think we could accomplish,” said Sereno.
Both cheerleading teams will be in action at the upcoming home football games on Oct. 6, Oct. 27, Nov. 3 and Nov. 17. Nationals will be from Jan. 18-20, at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL.