For most of DePauw’s cheerleaders, Saturday, Nov 13 will be their first time performing at the Monon game since last year’s game was canceled due to COVID-19. With a shortened season and many upperclassmen off campus during the 2020-21 academic year, the cheerleading team is using this football season to rebuild the momentum that was lost due to COVID-19.
“Last year we practiced twice a week but only got to perform at one game, so it was disappointing. Not a lot of people know about us because we were inactive for a very long time, which makes the recruiting process this year pretty difficult,” sophomore captain Lexie Floyd said.
The pandemic has made things more difficult for cheerleaders. “This year was definitely a rebuilding year for DePauw Cheer. This is the smallest team we’ve had in years and I would have to say that’s in large part due to COVID-19. Prior to COVID-19, I feel like everyone was willing to try new things and since COVID-19 stirred our lives in 2019, people have moved through life and new interactions with a certain level of timidness—myself included,” junior captain Kennedy Stepp said. “With this new way of life COVID-19 has forced upon us, it’s been nice having the support of faculty members.”
However, in the process of rebuilding the team after COVID-19, the cheerleading team has received support from the school administration. “Our coach Angie Whitlock is amazing, and she would do anything to help us,” Floyd said. President Lori White and Vice President Alan Hill have also had several conferences with them and offered assistance to get them back on track.
There are only 12 team members this year, but they are looking to recruit more interested students as the team becomes more active on campus and in DePauw athletics. Students of all levels are welcome to join. “We have very good team dynamics with both experienced cheerleaders and newcomers,” sophomore captain Emma Hubert said.
All three cheerleaders expressed their excitement and enthusiasm to return to normal cheerleading and for the upcoming game next Saturday. “We are so excited for the Pep Rally next Friday and for the Monon Game,” Hubert said. When asked about her prediction of the upcoming game, she responded, “100% we will win. Go Tigers!” Besides the cheerleaders, many of DePauw’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni are looking forward to the Monon Game and ready to cheer for our football team.