Emporia State’s cheer team  is switching gears to focus on their basketball performances and their upcoming tryouts in May.

“It’s been pretty amazing,” said Angela Nunley, coach of the cheer team. “I’ve learned a lot of lessons about being a couch and what it takes to be on a collegiate level team. We have amazing student athletes at ESU.” 

Originally asked to coach as a temporary hire, Nunley has been coaching now for eight years. 

 “It’s taught me a lot about myself,” Nunley said. “Cheer is a vastly underestimated sport. People don’t quite understand the risk they take…how much their bodies go through. The team is just as strong in character as they are physically.” 

In addition to the physical challenges, cheerleaders are required to participate in community service. On top of that, captains are in charge of organizing the entire team, according to Terrell Jackson, cheer captain and junior information systems major.

Jackson is one of six male members on the cheer team.

“I thought I might (get backlash for being a male cheerleader), but I definitely haven’t,” Jackson said. “I’ve got a couple of my best friends on the team.”

Jackson was also a wrestler, which has helped him with cheer.

“Wrestling is really about discipline and mental strength,” Jackson said. “More or less, it’s just like any other team. I don’t see it as just a team of girls…I like how it challenges your body and your mind…You have to be mentally ready.”

Tryouts are 6:30-9:30 p.m. May 3 and 9-12 p.m. May 4 in Gym E in HPER, and everyone is welcome to apply. 

“I actually didn’t think I was good enough to cheer in college,” said Sydney Hendrix, captain and junior psychology major. “But when I came to Emporia, and I saw that they didn’t have a tumbling requirement, I gave it a shot.” 

Students interested in joining the cheer team can contact Angela Nunley at ablaufuss@gmail.com for details. 

“Applications are available on the Facebook page,” Nunley said.  “The link will be up on the athletic website hopefully by the end of the month or students can email me.”

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