Since we’re based in San Diego, CA, we love reading about and sharing local stories. This one comes from our friends at Cheer Channel, Inc., who shared this story about the of San Diego’s cheerleading team. It’s a great story, written by the team, that explains their role in amplifying school spirit! *** Our cheer team is back with a new roster of talent this year. Not the spirit squad, but the cheerleading team. New members include: senior Nadeaja Shaheed, junior Sandra Gadow, sophomore Amanda Pennell, and freshmen Jasmine Tauer, Paige Needles, Madeline Platt, Sydney Shields and Abby Shields. The distinction between USD Cheerleading and USD Dance is worth noting. The cheerleading team focuses more on classic cheer movements such as jumping, stunting, tumbling and crowd leading.”The dance team focuses more on technical aspects of dance. Sophomore and captain of the USD cheer squad Adriianna Lagorio makes this difference clear, “If you want jumping, stunting, tumbling and crowd leading that does not involve technical dance skills, then cheer team is for you.” Many students on campus confuse the spirit squad for the cheerleading team and vice versa. Each team is a distinct entity in its own right but both teams work together for the common goal of improving the school spirit across campus. The team dancing at many of our athletic events is the USD spirit squad backed by Torero Athletics. USD is the only institution in the Pioneer Football League that does not have a traditional cheerleading team with stunts on the sideline of games. In 2005 a cheerleader named Kristi Yamaoka from Southern Illinois fell from the top of a pyramid during a performance. She suffered a fractured vertebra when she hit her head along with a concussion and bruised lung. Following this incident NCAA prohibited stunting without proper precautions as outlined by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators. USD has since supported an NBA-style dance team known as the Spirit Team. Misconceptions aside, our cheerleaders know their role in amplifying school spirit and their passion is easy to see. Sophomore and former member of the cheerleading team Brooke Belanger explains the magnetism of the team, ” I may just be an optimist, but walking into a practice of either organization you will find the greatest energy and highest morale in all of San Diego.” She believes this to be true even though she decided not to rejoin the team this year.” Student participation in support of our athletic teams has been a hot topic across the campus. The low turnout at our sporting events is a concern for many students and faculty alike. Perhaps the energy of the cheerleading team is what is needed to improve and promote better school spirit. Our cheerleading team is recognized as an official team under the Universal Cheerleaders Association and the National Cheerleaders Association. Our cheerleaders live by the motto “high jumps, high stunts and high standards” and it’s apparent their skills and determination are nothing to sneeze at. What do you think of this story? Are there any similarities with your school squad?