Cheer team, revamped, recommited

IUS Horizon

Kaelin Abbott
Kaelin Abbott
With the season in full-swing, Kaelin Abbott, IUS cheer coach, and her squad are engaged in another rigorous year of training and fundraising, with the goal of returning to nationals.

Abbott, who has coached the cheer team for five seasons, said her time spent as a Grenadier cheerleader was much different than what her squad experiences presently.

“Because we didn’t have a coach it was up to the team to come up with everything, the routines, uniforms, and practice space,” Abbott said. “It was basically student ran, and the adviser at the time was only there to make sure we didn’t have any injuries and that everything went OK.”

When the head cheer coach position became available in 2005, Abbott said she had just graduated with her Bachelors of Sciences in general studies from IU Southeast.

Having experience with cheer, Abbott applied for the job, because she said she knew that it was her opportunity to create something new and fresh for the program.

“When I got the position I was very excited,” Abbott said. “I knew that this was my chance to create a stable program and make it my own. I had the freedom to do what needed to be done in order to have a thriving team.”

Now as head cheer coach, Abbott said she has formed a consistent program for the cheerleaders, through scheduled practice times and games and by motivating the team to push themselves harder to become a better team than last year.

Abbott said the commitment of the team has allowed them to success on the national level.

“Because of the dedication that the team is putting in, we were able to go to Myrtle Beach and compete in open nationals against seven other all girl teams and won,” Abbott said.

Before they can be ready to compete, Abbott said they have to practice at least two to three times a week, with one of those nights spent in the gym practicing stunting and tumbling.

Abbott said the criteria and expectations for members of the squad has become more rigorous since her time as a cheerleader.

“This is a growing team and before you only had to have one year of cheer experience, now the requirements are much higher,” Abbott said. “I expect my girls to have some elite tumbling and stunting experience, such as round off back handsprings, back layouts and be able to do a layout basket toss.”

The team has been practicing strenuously since May to prepare for the season, and for another chance to take the national title.

“With the expectation set high we are sure to win nationals this year” Abbott said.

Setting the goal to win nationals is not the only thing on the team’s agenda. The team has also set out to get more recognition in the community and amongst the student body at IU Southeast by spreading awareness for the program.

“We want to let people know we are here and that were creating a presence around town.” Abbott said.

With a small university budget, building a solid foundation hasn’t been easy for the team as they have had to rely on help from sponsors, donations and fundraisers.

“We do at least 10 fundraisers a year, such as car washes and home interior candle sales,” Abbott said. “Not only that, we have sponsors like Donan Engineering and Puerto Vallarta who help us pay for nationals and equipment, and we are so thankful for that.”

Staff Writer