When regarding the most physically and mentally demanding sports, one sport that can throw its hat in the proverbial ring is cheerleading. It’s a team sport that mixes physical and mental tasks to perform for judges and achieve the best score. This is a sport that has become very popular, particularly in Australia, with clubs and companies located all around including the University of Newcastle (UON) Cheerleading Club which was founded in 2013.
In the lead-up to the State Championships competition, I investigated the world of cheerleading.
UON Cheerleading Club president, Kaitlin Murray, is someone who has been involved with cheerleading most of her life but there have been times when she and the sport took different paths.
Before cheerleading, Kaitlan was a dancer from the age of four. By 12 she was offered to do cheerleading and she continued her participation into her teenage years. But, in her 20’s she had a falling out with the sport and decided to quit.
As a mature-age student at UON, she discovered the Cheerleading Club and that initial love for the sport came back.
Her return to the sport has been so successful that she was able to participate in the World Championships, which wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the club.
Cheerleading is a highly demanding sport that requires athleticism, coordination, and endurance. It involves rigorous workouts to build strength, explosive jumps, and complex choreography. Cheerleaders must train extensively and work together in perfect synchronization. Despite its glamorous image, cheerleading is a challenging and physically demanding sport.
Kaitlin has reflected on the extent of the physical strain that the sport can take on the body, as she is currently working through a back injury.
“You basically work on everything; the entire body gets a workout, and you definitely feel it after training,” Kaitlin said.
Kaitlin’s story shows that there is a considerable amount of sacrifice and training required to be able to be involved in a sport like this.
Cheerleading competitions serve as platforms for teams from different parts of the country or even the world to compete for the highly contested top position.
When my mind wanders to the topic of cheerleading, I often concentrate on the rigorous training and physical exertion that athletes undergo in competition preparation.
The UON Cheerleading Team had an incredible journey last year, emerging as the NSW Grand Champions and National Runner-Ups. As they gear up for the 2023 season, the team is filled with enthusiasm to replicate the same level of success and to hopefully do one better than last year’s efforts in the Nationals.
The 2023 State Championships is set to occur over the 8th of September weekend and the training in the leadup to the competition has picked up in intensity.
“We basically have gone into the stage of pre-comp workout where you get into the practising of going through routine marks. This is where everything becomes crucial for the competition to nail down the routines,” Kaitlin said.
Kaitlin describes the club as “…a fun way to hang out with friends while also getting fit being a plus”.
If you’re interested in joining the UON Cheerleading Club, you can find helpful information on their Instagram page @uoncheer
The club has its training in Gateshead and has two teams:
The beginners’ team (½ level) and an intermediate team (¾ level).
Editor’s note: Since Jesse’s reporting, 15 members of the club caught COVID-19 resulting in the team forfeiting from the 2023 State Championships to ensure the safety of other competition attendees.