Niagara University’s cheerleading team has recently gained their third pair of coaches in three years and while they are new to coaching they are not new to NU. Coaches Sabree Gamel and Sara Gromek are NU graduates of 2012 and former NU cheerleaders who are back and ready to rebuild the purple pride in our cheerleading team.
After a few major setbacks in the last few years the team has a poor reputation.. “We would get girls for a season and then they would not come back the next year because they weren’t into it so we had to restart every single year,” says senior Ashley Decker. Decker has been a cheerleader at NU since her freshman year along with senior Stephanie Hacherl and has been through all of the ups and downs with the program. The stress of losing so many girls each season prevented the team from progressing while hurting the program’s reputation on campus.
“The main problem was no one was ever committed,” says senior Stephanie Hacherl.
In the last three years, each coach would come into the season planning to rebuild the program, but the decrease of dedication in some of the girls led the coaches to quit as well. “Our intention was to always go to competitions but we would never make it there because there was no dedication,” says Hacherl.
This season’s team consists of nineteen dedicated and passionate students excited to see what they are really capable of. After only three practices the team can already see a difference in coaching. “They’re a lot more organized this year,” says Claire Clayback. The coaches organized a calendar of each event the team will attend along with ordering new uniforms, new pom poms, new warm-ups and cheer bags. “It’s going to be a fresh start,” says Decker.
Knowing the coaches are more dedicated this year is helping the team’s attitude towards the season. “They’re really supportive of the team and they want what’s best for us,” says Hacherl.
“We’re going to use this year as kind of a building year just because of all the negative comments that have been going around the last couple of years,” says coach Sara Gromek. In the past NU’s cheerleading team would compete at national level competitions and come into each season preparing to be the best while working together.
Ultimately using this year as a building year, the new coaches will hopefully help get rid of the negative stigma around the program while pushing the team in the right direction of competing at a national level again. “The team needs not only a skill boost but a morale boost as well so this year we’re going to use to get our skillset back to where it should be at a college level,” says Gromek.
“Definitely next year we’ll be back in Florida at Nationals,” says Gromek.