KOKOMO, Ind. – Jessica Roller is fired up for the first-ever NAIA season of Cougar athletics at Indiana University Kokomo. She is ready to cheer on the teams, but she hopes to root for the Cougars as a member of the new cheerleading squad.
Since the addition of competitive sports last fall, school spirit has reached new heights. This prompted Roller and others to continue the enthusiasm by bringing cheerleading to campus.
"Having cheerleaders at the games will show how excited we are as a campus," Roller said, who cheered in high school. "When the crowd is involved, it makes the games that much more fun."
Roller encourages all students to get involved. As a leadership minor, she believes this will be a great leadership opportunity for students, too.
Coaching the Cougar cheerleaders will be Chelsea Bower, who brings 10 years of experience.
"I want to help build traditions at IU Kokomo," Bower said. "We will bring a lot of new material, some dances and signature cheers, and really get the crowd involved."
Bower looks to build a fun squad of up to eight men and women with sharp skills, experience, and a lot of creativity. They will cheer at all men's home basketball games, and possibly at women's home volleyball games.
She is excited to lead students in a transition from high school to collegiate cheerleading. Bower says engaging the crowd and student section will be a major component of their game performances.
An open gym practice is set for Wednesday, August 29, time and place to be announced. Tryouts will take place Friday, August 31, in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130, from 5 to 7 p.m. Tryouts are open to all full-time students at IU Kokomo.
During the open gym practice, those who try out will learn a dance and cheer to be performed on August 31. Participants will also be expected to perform an original cheer and jumps. Tumbling is optional.
Bower's experience includes four years of cheering at Manchester College. Previously, she coached the junior varsity squad at Maconaquah High School and is the current coach of the 8th grade squad at Lewis Cass Junior-Senior High School.
For more information, contact Chelsea Bower at email@example.com or (765) 513-7026.
Story written by Mary Olk. Mary is a senior majoring in communication arts, and is a writer for the Office of Media & Marketing.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.