When first year students Brooke Hammer and Jessica McCullough came to Trent last fall they were thinking there would be a cheerleading team. Many high schools have them and every university they’ve heard of had one. Trent didn’t.
Most would have just shrugged and moved on, but Hammer and McCullough decided to bring cheer to Trent.
It hasn’t been easy, but Trent now has a cheerleading team of 26 members, all women, and predominately first-year students. They plan to participate in a National competition in Niagara for the Canadian Cheer Evolution University and Open Championships that take place in April.
The first challenge was finding cheerleaders to be on the team without a platform to advertise it.They had to rely primarily on word of mouth to get the word out about the team.
“We have 26 cheerers this year and that’s good, we hope to get more next year once people find out about us and [male cheerleaders] too. A lot of the other teams have guys on their team, we don’t.” said Hammer, a first year Forensic Science student and captain/coach of the cheer team.
At first Hammer and McCullough were leading the team together, but after one semester McCullough didn’t find Trent was the right fit for her and left, leaving Hammer in charge by herself.
“We have a great group of girls, we just come to practice and have fun. Jessica doesn’t go to Trent anymore, but she drives here (from Oshawa) once a week and practices with us,” Hammer said.
To prepare, the team has been practicing four times a week. However, a constant challenge is having space for practice.
“We try to practice four times a week with one practice being optional, but we only get the gym once a week to practice,” Hammer said. “It’s hard practicing in smaller space, but we do our best.”
The cheer team is also self-funded, which passes the onus to the team members to handle costs. The price for playing on the cheer team has been $350 so far, and this is before their trip in Niagara Falls for the competition. To balance the expenses the team did a fundraising event at The Venue.
The cheerleading team has had some growing pains, as expected, with a new athletic program, but they had a successful show at The Venue and hope to carry that momentum to Niagara Falls in April.