by Ashleigh Wheeler, CBU Sports Information Intern
This year, the cheerleading team at California Baptist University has undergone some changes by adding a new coach (Wendy Rice), a full competition schedule, and plenty of new faces.
For any other team this might seem overwhelming, but with Rice at the wheel, the CBU team is steering towards success.
One of the biggest changes that Rice made as soon as she came in was to add a year-round competition schedule for the team. Previously, the team only competed at nationals at the end of spring making it hard for the girls to gain confidence and experience in their routines. Giving the girls time to build up to nationals and to work out the kinks in their routines was very important to the first-year coach.
“My philosophy for competition is not to throw your team in the Super Bowl in their very first game,” said Rice. “You have to get practice in front of crowds. In any sport you have to let your players build up by practicing and having scrimmages so when it comes time to perform they will be comfortable.”
Unity is a major goal for the team this year, and Rice believes it is key to success. One way Rice is trying to accomplish that is by having strong leaders with defined roles. There are four captains this year, two seniors and two underclassmen, and each are assigned different responsibilities. Each captain is responsible for one of the following: Unity, spiritual leadership, community activities, fundraising and communication.
Another reason the team wanted to have a full competition schedule was because they wanted to become more active in the local communities.
“It is important to us to reach out to the community and we really try our hardest to be wherever CBU needs us to be in order to help out,” said Rice. “This year we already participated in the home tour and CBU's birthday party, and we look forward to taking part in future events.”
So far the cheerleading team has already competed in one competition and came away with a huge win. Not only did they come in first, but they did it after losing five girls the week before the competition.
With a long road of competition ahead of them, the team is going to have to keep the same heart and determination with them in order to take home first at nationals. But for Rice, it is not what place they come in that determines the team’s success, but how every girl feels when it is all said and done.
“What would make this a successful season would be that every single girl on my team felt they contributed,” said Rice. “I want every girl to leave respecting each other and knowing they put aside their differences and came together for a common purpose.”