by Lily Cochenour
With a coach and nine participants, the cheer team officially started its inaugural season at Rochester College in Fall 2017.
The team will eventually compete as a competitive cheer team, but this year, it will serve as a sideline cheer team for both men’s and women’s basketball games.
“We are starting from scratch, but it is so cool to be able to say that we are making history as Rochester’s first cheer team,” said Bella Galli, freshman education major and a member of the cheer team. “Although we know that we have a lot of work to do to get in shape to (hopefully) compete next year, each of us is motivated, dedicated and passionate, which already is wonderful to have as our team’s foundation.”
Patti Glenn serves as the RC coach, coming from Notre Dame Prep in Pontiac where she served as the assistant varsity cheer coach for both the sideline and competitive teams. Glenn has a long history as a cheer coach in Michigan, earning district coach honors in 2012 and 2014, and leading her teams to the Division 3 State Championship. Glenn also has been part of the Michigan Competitive Cheer Coaches Association since 2009, serving as president of the group in 2015.
Glenn continues to build the team. “It’s a recruiting process so I go out and recruit athletes just as basketball, baseball, softball. So I go to a lot of the different high school meets; I communicate with a lot of the high school coaches just letting them know that we have a team and scholarships are available,” she said.
Sarah Newton, a junior education major and cheer team member, said the women on the team are excited to get to know each other better and to represent Rochester College.
“Since day one, we all just meshed together and we all are figuring everything out,” she said.
While the squad is starting with all women, the cheer team is expected to participate as a co-ed sport.
The 2016-17 season was the first year the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics considered cheer as a varsity sport. According to the NAIA, it is “the only collegiate athletics association to offer a national championship in this sport.”