Delta cheerleaders makes a comeback after low spring enrollment

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Students in the Delta cheerleading squad practice their stunting. Photo by Vivienne Aguilar.
Students in the Delta cheerleading squad practice their stunting. Photo by Vivienne Aguilar.

San Joaquin Delta College’s cheerleading quadrupled in size from seven members in the Spring 2018 semester to 28 this term.

Cheer team is in its third year and is seeing a huge comeback now that more students know that the class requires no formal tryouts.  

The only requirements for the class are simple: sign up and show up.

Even if one  feels they won’t be able to stay on beat or do anything, the squad promises  newcomers will learn.

Anyone is welcome and is urged by the team to join.

The “Spirit Training” class offers two units. Those enrolled are expected to participate in all cheer related activities.

If you want to be involved with the cheerleading squad but have your reservations about dancing and working with the team, there is a position for you: Spirit Leader. A Spirit Leader is the social media coordinator for the team.

They would be responsible for taking pictures and videos of the team and posting them on the team’s social media accounts.

The Spirit Leader is able to wear a uniform and carry a team bag. Other merchandise such as keychains, bows, and embroidered names are available too.

The class begins with  stretching both as a group and individually, so athletes are not penalized for showing up a few minutes late. . Most cheerleaders are full time students so this works in their favor.

Throughout the class period the students work together to learn dances and resolve issues pertaining to activites and logistics of being part of the team. This includes making sure that all expenses are paid for the class requirements.

Cheering at other teams fields or courts are not allowed at the collegiate level, so The Mustangs resort to volunteering at community charity walks to fill the remainder of their schedule.

“I feel like it’s degrading cheerleading, cause like it’s not technically a sport here. Compared to high schools, like, it’s considered a sport. When you go out with everyone else and you can compete,” said Mustang cheerleader Gianne Felisco on the collegiate rule.

Mustang cheerleading was considered a club because of low enrollment before and couldn’t get approval.

This semester, the class is allowed to perform stunts. The privilege of stunting, lifting and being carried or tossed by teammates, is dependent on the individual athlete’s health card status.

Once a prospective cheerleader is cleared by her doctor, she gets the okay.

If someone doesn’t turn in physical information to the coach and wants to do stunts, they’d have to go through the athletic director.

The class itself doesn’t require students to submit a physical.

As of right now, the majority of the class consists of beginners.

The team is proud of how energetic they are when they’re all together and how they are “really open” to those who have never cheered before and have the urge to join, said Felisco.

Summer semester 2018 cheer only had approximately seven on the squad, including Lorenzo Raya, the only male cheerleader on the team. His peers praise him  as the hype man.

Other notable team members are Gracie Ruiz and Gianne Felisco for their “A1” skills at being fliers.

In the few weeks since the start the Fall semester, the team has been working hard to learn cheers.

“I feel like [we’ve learned] 30-something cheers. 28, 29 cheers”, said Raya.

This semester, the team will receive new girl’s uniforms.

Unlike last year, with exception for male uniforms, the fabric will be mostly white. The color change worries the girls because of how easy it will be to dirty them in comparison to the old black ones. Many expressed their envy for Raya’s all black only option.

On Sept. 6, former Delta cheerleader Melissa Hewlett attended the team’s practice as a guest instructor.  

Hewlett has been a flier in the past and left Delta in Fall 2017.

Since leaving Delta, Hewlett has missed her passion so she took the opportunity to teach.

The practice was the first time she was introduced to the newest Mustang cCheerleaders.

“What do you feel comfortable doing?,” asked Hewlett.

“Anything! Everything,” replied the squad.