MVC Cheer team gathered for a picture after winning Nationals in Daytona, Florida. (Photo courtesy of MVC)
Story by Kathrine Flores
The Missouri Valley Vikings Cheerleading squad is often found on the sidelines of the 3-peat conference champion football team or underneath the hoop in the Burns Athletic Center cheering on the Men’s Basketball team. But during the spring, the cheerleading squad devotes their time to preparing themselves for yet another national appearance.
The Viking cheer squad has made three national appearances and has placed in the top three each year, including being named last year’s 2013 National Champions NAIA Small Co-Ed Division.
Morgan McCrary, a junior cheerleader, didn’t always plan on attending MVC. Morgan was enrolled at a different college on the cheer squad, and was a week from starting school. While working for NCA (National Cheerleaders Association), she met the MVC Cheer coach and, in the same day, decided that she wanted to attend Valley and cheer competitively for the school as well.
Morgan is one of the few returners who have been here the longest. So, naturally, a leadership role comes with seniority.
“There’s not any captains. Most people always think it’s cheerleading so there is a captain. There’s not any. We don’t have any of those on our team but I do have a leadership role as one of the returners of three years. There’s only one other girl on the team who’s been a returner,” said McCrary.
The Cheerleading squad is preparing mentally and physically to be a national contender in the 2014 competitive season.
“We practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for three hours each day. We have weights multiple times a week. There’s a lot of work that is put in and I am excited for this season,” said Kristin Lyming, head Cheerleading and Dance coach.
Lyming said there is a lot of talent on this year’s squad and the mentality to become national champions is very apparent from both returners and incoming freshman and transfers.
“The ones on the team that went to nationals last year and got to experience it bring that intensity to the other girls. If the returners are lacking some sort of intensity, the incoming girls bring a new spark to the squad. They balance each other out…when they are lacking something they always bring each other back up,” said Lyming.
The Cheerleading squad spends so much time together that they build family relationships which can be hard when teammates become irritated with one another, but, the majority of the time, the squad knows they have each other’s back until the end.
“In the beginning of the year, you don’t think that you can become so close to a group of new people and by the time nationals roll around those are the people you would lay your life down for,” said McCrary.
McCrary has an optimistic and competitive outlook on the upcoming season and that sort of attitude and outlook for the season reflects and wears onto the incoming freshman and transfers.
Brianna Sanchez is a sophomore transfer from California and has a competitive outlook on the upcoming season as well.
“I believe my team has the talent and dedication to get us to nationals again. We work hard as a team and family which motivates us to push harder. As an incoming transfer, the returners give me the drive to push hard. They help me get back up when I’m down and encourage me to push forward and work through my frustration,” said Sanchez.
The hunger for another national title is there from the coaching staff, the returners and also the new additions to the squad. The time and devotion from the team is an effort that is being put forth by everyone.
This year the NAIA competition is set up a little different from last year. There are more competitions throughout the year to add to each team’s ranking. Though there is a change, the members of the team are ready to come out in the competitive season and give it their all.
“We know what we want and we know what is takes to get there. I expect us to give it 110 percent so we can earn the national title, yet again,” said Sanchez.
The Cheerleading team is not recognized as a sport but the time they put in, the love of what they do, and determination to take a national title is the same as any other team on the MVC Campus.
The hunger to go to nationals is what the team spends the entire year working for. Taking the title is the icing on the cake.