SFA Cheer Squad Receives National Attention

by Jessica Cervantez

When you think about cheerleading, you may not consider it a competitive sport, but you may need to think again. One author has written a book about it, and in it she showcases the SFA Lumberjack cheer squad, and they're receiving some national attention. Tuesday morning they were featured on Good Morning America. 

The book is called "Cheer," And Author Kate Torgovnick takes an in-depth look at cheering, the competitiveness, and the injuries that come with it.  SFA is one of three squads featured.

In a phone interview the author said she was looking for the best squads in the country.

Torgovnick said, "I chose SFA first.  I had a great first discussion with their coach and the director of student life. They seemed really open and welcoming to the project. And they're so fun to watch. I started watching some of their videos online and I felt that SFA was super creative."

The SFA squad is receiving national attention, not only from this book, but for their ability to bring home national championships. And right now they're in crunch time, getting ready for the nationals, just around the corner.

If you think cheering is easy, you're wrong. The collegiate level is full of flips, tumbling, stunts and pyramids.

Trisha O'Connor, the SFA cheering coach said, "It's very tough on everyone's bodies. It's very tough on people emotionally mentally, especially because there are things where we push them further physically then they've ever been pushed before."

That means hours of intense training so that they can achieve perfection for nationals, which is just around the corner. There's a reason the SFA cheer squad has brought home eight national championships, the last five in a row.

Jerrod Vanover, a senior cheerleader said, "I call it a full-body workout.  It's like nothing I've ever done before and I've played football and I was a wrestler.  It's the best work out you could every get."

But like every sport, there are injuries.

Shelley Egan, a sophomore cheerleader, said, "I went through one ankle injury back in junior high, and then I hurt my back like two or three weeks ago.  I've been going to a chiropractor and it's better."

Hard work and intense training is what it's all about.

Nationals will be held in Daytona April 12th through 14th. But, they will be performing for the public on April 4th at 6:30 p.m. at the coliseum and the public is invited to wish them well.