By Dayle Jolynn Greenzweig
Recruitment and Retention Manager
You may have seen the KU cheerleaders on the sidelines at your favorite sporting events last year or around campus promoting school spirit. This year, they’ll be even tougher to miss.
With a team of 40 athletes, KUCT is the largest it has ever been. KU now has one large cheerleading team, which will be split in half for games and competitions. The “all-girl” team consists of 22 female athletes, and the “co-ed” team consists of five male athletes and 13 females.
The overwhelming amount of talent at this year’s tryout caused head coach, Crystal Swift, to take a higher number of athletes.
Coach Swift hopes that with more teammates, KUCT will be able to cover a larger portion of the crowd at this season’s football games. The team will now stretch their line-up completely across the home side of the track, contrary to bouncing between the seats of students and spectators, previously.
Senior and third-year team member Brandon DeBenedetta is excited to utilize the bigger squad at games, saying, “I can’t wait to cover the whole crowd and keep everyone hype during the games.”
The new team currently practices twice a day, five days a week with workouts at 6 a.m. and full practices at 6 p.m.
With more athletes also comes more coaching staff. This year, KUCT will include Crystal Swift returning as head coach along with four assistant coaches: Sam Shultz, Sam Markowski, Brooke Zerphy and Sarah Gardner.
Markowski says, “Having both a coed and all-girl team this year expands our program to promote school spirit more than ever before.”
However, this team of 40 goes beyond working together to cheer on our Bears; they all bond to form one big KU family. A larger team not only means more support for the school’s sports teams but also more support for each other.
Freshman, Maddy Sterns expressed her gratitude for her new friends saying, “Being on such a large team gave me a big group of friends before even coming to campus… they have all been there to help and support us with cheer and school.”
Catch this new KU cheerleading family and all its new members on the sidelines of every home football game this season.