Women of Spirit
Written by Elizabeth Vietor
Picture a classic American college scene. Bleachers filled with excited students line a football field on a sunny afternoon. Spirited chants rise up loudly from the student section whenever the home team makes a good play, and the pep band strikes up a stirring tune. Now imagine this scene in a real place. The team’s uniforms are blue and white, the game is happening at Muddy Waters Stadium, and, yes, this is Hillsdale College.
Add one final element to complete this picture: the cheer team, positioned at the foot of the bleachers. Clad in matching blue and white uniforms, these ladies perform catchy chants and dance moves whenever the team scores or the audience needs a little more excitement.
“We try to gauge the mood of the crowd during games,” said co-captain Erin Gries, ’18. “If a cheer is working, we’ll use it more that day.”
Erin first heard about the cheer team from her class Facebook page. She joined during the second semester of her sophomore year and has been involved ever since.
The women on the cheer team do an outstanding job of supporting Hillsdale athletics while keeping up with classes and a social life like the rest of us. And they aren’t limited to football—the team also cheers at men’s home basketball games.
The ladies on the team come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have trained in dance, and others are experienced in traditional cheer and stunts. Though there are auditions, the main thing is to have school spirit.
The team works with Margaret Braman, faculty advisor of the cheer team and Individual Visit Coordinator for the admissions office. The team practices two to four times per week depending on how many stunts they plan to incorporate into their routine. Usually the stunts involve lifting someone high overhead, which takes time to perfect since it requires more balance and teamwork.
I’m excited to return to the sunny football stadium and see how the cheer team will continue to perform. They add an indispensable freshness to every game and perform new dance routines every week.
Elizabeth Vietor is a junior Latin major with an affinity for thrift shops, butter, and scrunchies. She hails from Phoenix, Arizona, originally, but now that she’s here, doesn’t know how she existed for so long without seeing the leaves change every fall.
Published in February 2019