Junior Ashley Kern started gymnastics when she was five and was competitive for nine years. At 14, she started all-star competitive cheerleading. She continued all-star cheerleading her freshman year and made her high school’s competitive squad.
Along with her friend, Kern started a gymnastics team for her high school where she competed against other high schools around Indiana. When she came to Anderson University, she put that same determination to work. What started with a few girls coming together to cheer at games turned into a recognized club.
Kern, along with some of her friends, spoke with AU Athletic Director Marci Taylor about the possibility of starting a cheerleading squad. [Photo credit: Monica Obispado]
“The first couple of games we cheered at were rough, and we felt like we had no clue what we were doing,” said Kern. “But we had both players and parents come up and thank us for being there.”
The cheer squad was able to follow the men’s basketball team to Tarble Arena in Kenosha, Wisc., when the basketball team played in the NCAA Div. III National Tournament in early 2010. When the Colts training camp was at AU, Kern and fellow cheerleader Kelsey Middough had the opportunity to sign autographs along with the Colts cheerleaders.
This year the club started cheering during football season. At games they focus on getting the crowd involved with cheers and entertaining them with tumbling. During Homecoming chapel, they led a cheer from the stage, along with the third floor Dunn Hall drumline.
Kern talked to Kevin O’Bold, a member of Student Government Association, about becoming a club and O’Bold guided her in the right direction. They wrote up a charter, presented to SGA, and made a compelling case for why cheerleading should be a recognized club on campus.
“Last year I led the squad, and it was hard for me to be in charge of my friends,” said Kern. She thought that tryouts would be difficult for her to do alone since she expected a higher number of girls that would try out. She asked AU alumna and assistant director of MBA programs Shana Clatterbuck to help out. After tryouts, Clatterbuck found out that the girls didn’t have a coach, and since her schedule worked with the team’s she volunteered.
Clatterbuck said that it is good for the university to have a cheer squad because it appeals to girls who are coming out of high school and want to continue cheering. All of the girls on the squad have experience cheering at least from high school and some have other experience with all-star cheerleading, competitive gymnastics, or dance.
“Cheerleading is a great opportunity for girls to get connected to a group which they can relate to,” said Clatterbuck. [Photo on right: Sophomores Emmalee Strait and Kelsey Middaugh.]
As an Anderson University student, Clatterbuck was a part of the competitive cheer team her freshman and sophomore years, before the team was discontinued. In its new form, cheerleading at AU will not be competitive, but students, faculty, friends, and family will benefit from the school spirit the squad brings to basketball and football games.
— Kristyn Rhynard is a senior from Ithaca, Mich., majoring in communication arts. Rhynard is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.