Cheer team returns to Sewanee after year long break

Madison Spann 
Contributing Writer

After a year of hearing no cheers or chants from the sidelines, the cheer team is back and ready to make up for lost time. Tryouts occurred August 26, and practice has already begun as the football prepares for the season. 

Claire Lafevor (C‘25) shares her take on being one of the newest members on the squad: “I have been cheering since fourth grade and really loved cheering in high school for football. I wanted to continue in college in order to stay in shape and continue my passion.”

She continued, “I was nervous because I knew there would be both freshman and sophomores trying out, whereas, in normal years, it would just be freshman. Also, I wanted to join the team to have a sense of community with both upper and lower classmen who are on the team.” 

She is most “looking forward to seeing other students come out to support the team because it really makes the whole experience better.” 

Anna McCasland (C‘23) shared how excited she is for those experiences now that cheer’s year long hiatus is over and their season is starting up. After being a cheerleader her freshman year, she finally gets to experience another season. 

After McCasland won a national cheer championship in high school, she “realized cheer was something that [she] really loved.” McCasland continued, “Coming to college, I knew I wanted that creative outlet, and cheer seemed like the best fit. It was a lot less stressful than high school cheer, and I was able to have a different friend circle with really sweet girls who were older and could be mentors to me.”

She especially loves cheering at Sewanee because of a particular memory: “When we went to an away game at Rhodes College and had the opportunity to visit a nursing home there. We connected with the older folks and heard their stories. At that moment, I realized that cheering at Sewanee was more than just cheering on the sidelines for a team, rather you are representing Sewanee,” McCasland said. 

McCasland realized that being on the cheer team meant more than just wearing the uniform and going to practices. Being on the team meant that McCasland could experience community service while still participating in something that she loved. 

She continued, “Covid last year was really hard considering we could not participate in any sports, so it has been great to have that creative outlet this year. I have really been able to connect with the girls and this season is different because there are new sophomores and freshman. Since I am the only junior, I have the ability to be a mentor to them. With my major being finance, cheer has been a great activity to be involved with as a break from academics.” 

As the first game of the season approaches, Mary Emily Morris (C’22) helps prepare the routines for each game. 

Morris has been on the cheer team since her freshman year at Sewanee, and, along with cheering on the sidelines, she choreographed the cheers and dances along with the stunt designs. 

She experienced cheer in high school and junior high, but now gets to have the experience in college. “I needed something in college to keep me active and motivate me to attend sporting events. It has been amazing to meet all the girls, and we do activities together like study sessions or dinners. It creates a small community within Sewanee, and it helped me get through my freshman year at Sewanee, since I developed a home away from home,” Morris said. 

Losing the chance to cheer came with losing the sense of community the squad found. “Not having the cheer team and every other sports team last year was very hard, and I think it impacted everyone personally. No one was able to have that social interaction with people. It made remembering past routines and getting back into the groove of things much harder,” Morris said. 

Morris shares one of the most memorable moments saying, “during the few away games that we were able to go on because we would get hotel rooms and all come together at night and play games, share secrets, and tell Sewanee stories. It always makes bonding easier with all the girls on the team,” Morris said.

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