While thousands of MTSU alumni will undoubtedly be making noise of support at Saturday’s 2017 Homecoming game, the Blue Raider cheerleading squad hopes to have a bit of extra help from its former members to keep fans pumped up throughout the game.
MTSU cheerleaders are inviting alumni members of the squad to support the football team as they go head-to-head with Florida International University at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in Floyd Stadium.
For more than 10 years, Spirit Coordinator Dante Tennant has coached cheerleaders from all over the nation and now hopes bringing a new tradition to the university will boost former cheerleaders’ involvement with the program.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to reach out to alumni to be involved in a program that hopefully was a big part of their time in college,” Tennant said.
Practice will take place Friday, Oct. 6, between 3 and 6 p.m. for any former MTSU cheerleader who wants to participate in Saturday’s game or just watch for fun.
“The gist of it is to have them (former MTSU cheerleaders) come cheer the first half of the football game with us on the sidelines. … Some like to come back and see if they still got it,” he said.
MTSU graduate Patrice Sims is one of the alumni team members who is pumped to cheer on the Blue Raider football team Saturday afternoon.
“I’m excited to see the community come together and have yet another huge crowd rooting on their team — and of course, to see another win,” Sims said.
Even though she graduated in spring 2014, Sims attributes some of her social skills to her time on the team as an undergraduate.
“Being on the team taught me how to be a leader, professional and outgoing,” she said.
Tennant’s not only encouraging the squad’s old members to be a part of a new True Blue experience for homecoming; he’s also offering an upcoming opportunity for prospective cheerleaders wanting insight on what it takes to cheer at the next level.
The Fall College Prep Clinic is being held Sunday, Oct. 22, in the Campus Recreation Center for people aspiring to cheer at the collegiate level.
MTSU’s cheer program is extending an invitation to high school students, transfers and others wanting to improve skills such as tumbling and stunts. Last year’s attendance capped at around 150 participants, and one of those participants, Kassidi Nuanmanee, decided to pursue a cheer career at MTSU.
Nuanmanee, one of the rookies on the team, demonstrated skills she received both inside and outside the clinic in landing a spot on this year’s squad.
“I felt like cheering at the college level was in my reach,” Nuanmanee said. “I did know that I had to work a little harder to get some skills that he (Tennant) was very specific about before tryouts came around.”
Tennant said he feels the clinic gave the first-year athlete an advantage during tryouts for the 2017-18 academic year because he keeps the material consistent for both events.
“She was good and still is talented,” he said. “I’m glad she is on the team now, and obviously the clinic helped her receive what she needed to do well at tryouts.”
For more information about MTSU cheerleading, visit www.mtsu.edu/mtcheer. You can follow the team on Facebook and Instagram.
— Jayla Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)