Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Spreading spirit and pride one cheer at a time

Junior Autumn Anderson leads a cheer in front of the family weekend crowd. Photo by Mary Therese Gehrmann.

You hear them at Lindberg Stadium for an Augustana football game, or you see them stunting during timeouts in Carver at a men’s basketball game. The 2018-2019 Augustana Cheerleading Squad is preparing to make each home game at Augie full of spirit—and this year, even more so.
Coach Mariah Benson, who is an Augustana alumna, said one of her biggest goals for the team is to make sure Viking fans stay as fired up as they can be.
“We want to get the crowd more involved at games,” Benson said. “Augustana fans are very dedicated and we would love to work with them on new chants and cheers.”
This year, the squad is smaller than previous years. With only 18 members and no seniors, stunting and pyramids can be difficult. The team has been able to overcome this disadvantage, however, with incredible leadership demonstrated by upperclassmen.
“Complex pyramids need at least 20 people and we only have 18, so this can be difficult,” Benson said. “However, our upperclassmen are the leaders of our squad and the underclassmen are eager to learn and be hard workers, so it’s a good balance.”
The squad practices three times a week to focus on not only individual skills and stunts, but also coming together to work on pyramids and dances. With the squad performing at halftime for football and basketball games, their first major performance will be seen at this year’s homecoming game against North Central on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Sophomore Laurin Hopping said the team’s main focus is on the homecoming skills and making sure the dance routine and pyramids are perfect for the game.
“I am excited to see our improvement from last year. This year we have a squad with a lot of potential,” Hopping said. “We have strong bases, flyers and back spots. Overall, having a strong team will allow us to do advanced things.”
The squad has developed a close knit family. Junior captain Emmalee Pentek has cheered for most of her life and coming to Augustana allowed her to continue her cheerleading career.
“I didn’t want to stop cheering in college and I knew that I couldn’t go to a big university to cheer because you have to be a flyer or a certain size,” Pentek said. “Here at Augustana, you don’t need those requirements—you just need a good attitude. It’s been eye-opening coming here and not needing specifically the skills, but needing to be able to be coachable and make connections. It’s a good life skill.”
The next time you are at an Augustana game, check out the sidelines for a pop of pep and cheer. With the squad’s commitment to school spirit, the games here at Augustana will continue to be the best that they can be.
 “We love Augustana,” Pentek said. “Just going to football and basketball games shows our dedication to this place and that we want to give a good reputation to parents, students and the fans. We want to be the backbone, see the teams be successful, and have their backs in times of failure.”
The cheerleading squad will be hosting a two-day K-12 camp on Oct. 13-14 at which campers will have the opportunity to cheer on the sidelines and perform at halftime for the Augustana football game on Saturday, Oct. 20. Campers will receive a cheer bow, game admission and a camp gift. Campers will also work with the squad on tumbling, jump sequences, dance and stunting to prepare to be a Viking for the night.
Photo Above: Junior Autumn Anderson leads a cheer in front of the family weekend crowd. Photo by Mary Therese Gehrmann.

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Spreading spirit and pride one cheer at a time