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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


What goes up does not come down

Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Savannah Koch, 8 years old,
Lisa Beth Earle
Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Savannah Koch, 8 years old,

The only thing bigger than the UA cheerleaders’ stunts on Saturday were the smiles on the participating kids’ faces.

Thirty students, none older than 14, from as far as Vail, Ariz., participated in the third annual Kindergarten – 9th Grade Cheer Clinic! held by the Arizona cheerleaders and mascots at the Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

“”Working with the kids is fun,”” said Vanessa Romeo, the cheerleader of the week. “”It’s the most enjoyable (part of the clinic).””

The cheer clinic started with introductions and a musical game to break the ice among the participating kids. The musical game included a cheerleading jump called lover’s leap, in which one person leaps into the arms of another. After the intros and game, the kids were taught the three essential cheers for the UA cheerleading team, which include “”Go ‘Cats Go,”” “”Let’s Go ‘Cats”” and “”Ar-i-zo-na.”” There were claps and fist pumps galore with each cheer taught. Cheerleaders demonstrated each cheer step-by-step as the students followed, smiling all the while.

The cheerleaders moved on to teaching jumps, and unlike the two previous years, this year’s cheer clinic included stunts.

“”We incorporated stunting, and we did a little more with jumps so the kids would get more out of it,”” said first-year head cheerleading and mascot coach Tori Palmer.

The stunting required several members of the squad to be lifted and held up in the air by their teammates. While in the air, the cheerleaders showcased the spins, flips and cheers fans have come to know and love at UA home sporting events. 

Brian Howard, a transfer student from Notre Dame and first-year cheerleader, soon found himself holding up more than his fellow cheerleaders. Howard and the rest of the squad got to hoist some of the participating kids into the air so they could show off their stunts.

“”It’s nice to see the kids come out,”” Howard said. “”Hopefully they’ll get a chance to learn a lot. It’s neat to just play with the kids. They’re fun.””

Though many of the older and more daring students participating in the clinic were going airborne, a game of duck-duck-goose broke out on the sidelines with some of the cheerleaders and younger kids not wishing to show off their stunts in the air.

“”The kids had fun and got to interact with the cheerleaders,”” Palmer said. “”Their favorite part is just getting to know them.””

After the stunts, the cheerleaders showed off their dance skills, and the kids learned a dance routine.

As a finale, after lunch, the kids watched the cheerleading team do a routine they have been working on. The spectators looked on as the cheerleaders jumped, stunted and danced under Palmer’s instruction.

Following the routine, many of the cheerleaders and kids walked over to McKale Center to cheer on the Arizona women’s basketball team as it hosted the Oregon Ducks. The students were invited to attend the game as part of the clinic. 

“”We want them to have fun and have a good time here,”” Palmer said.””(We want them) to see if it is something they are interested in and maybe want to do in the future.””

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