U of L spirit squads hope to repeat success in 08-09

By on September 22, 2008

By Catherine Laroche

Many University of Louisville students could name how many championships the men’s basketball and football teams have accumulated. But do students know how many titles that spirit groups have won?
The U of L spirit groups have won a combined 31 national cheerleading association championships; in which the Ladybirds have won seven, the Cardinal bird has taken home one title, the all-girl squad has won seven, small co-ed has won three and the large co-ed has won 13 championships.
Last year alone, the Ladybirds large co-ed and small co-ed cheerleading squads left Daytona Beach, Fla. with first place trophies. The Ladybirds and large co-ed won the Grand Champion titles, which are handed out to the teams that get the highest score out of the entire cheer or dance division.
“I thought that it was an amazing end to an even better year,” Sara Metzler, senior Ladybird, said. “It was the icing on the cake.”
With the all-girl cheer squad finishing third last April, Kim Brakmeier, senior all-girl cheerleader and captain, is even more motivated to reclaim their No. 1 spot this year.
“I think this year, we’ll come back and there will be no problem,” Brakmeier said. “We’ve always been the best and hopefully this year we can show that.”
After setting high standards over the years, the cheerleaders and Ladybirds all have the same goal: win another national championship.
“Our goal clearly is to win that national title,” Todd Sharp, Spirit Coordinator and coach, said.  “But, I think that’s less for me and the other coaches. As coaches, we want to win but it’s more for the kids because we don’t want them to feel like they’re the year or team to drop the tradition. The ultimate goal is to enjoy the whole experience and have fun at practice and appearances. “
In order to accomplish that goal, the spirit groups are hoping to continue to improve on their athleticism, technique and stunting.
Sharp said a lot of teams use stunts that U of L used a year or two prior to that.
“We’re trying to become the best of the best and raise the bar again,” Zach Farrel, senior co-ed cheerleader and captain, said. “We know all the other colleges want us to fail, so we have to keep that in the back of our minds, work harder and become more creative in everything we do.”
With just five weeks gone into the semester, the cheerleaders and ladybirds have already been routinely practicing four days a week for at least three hours at each practice. In the spring semester, their practices will go from a few days to every day, in preparation for nationals.
With many cheerleaders and ladybirds from last season not returning, the spirit groups have gained about 50 new participants and Sharp believes it is one of the best things about this year’s teams.
“I initially perceived it to be the worst thing,” Sharp said. “These new team members have come into a program that has a rich tradition and they’re really looking forward to being a part of our tradition of excellence here.”
Sharp said he believes this program will stay in contention for many National Titles in the future.
“When you’ve got a program that has won so many national titles, of course our goal is to stay on top,” Sharp said. “Our kids have nowhere else to go but down.”

About Michael Kennedy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *