There are lots of sports teams at Elon, but one that often gets overlooked is the Phoenix cheerleading team.
Tumbles, cartwheels, cheers and other stunts are all a part of a cheerleader’s game day routine – though the careful detail is sometimes not seen from the fan’s perspective.
Junior Stephanie Brown is the captain of the Elon Cheerleading team and says there’s a lot of trust the members put on one another in order to pull off a cool stunt.
“It is meticulous because you really want to make sure the girls are being safe,” Brown said. “If they do fall, it’s on us. It’s our fault, it’s a team sport, and you need to work together.”
Brown added that timing is an important role in a cheer routine for the males holding the “flyers” in the air. It’s the practice during the week when timing is developed, which is put on display on game days in Rhodes Stadium or Alumni Gym.
But the group wasn’t always as co-ed as it is today.
Four years ago, the cheer team had only one male on the roster — now senior Grant Jones. Today, the squad boasts seven males who all make jumps and cheers even more exciting.
“Being a male cheerleader, it’s more than just being how much you can lift,” Jones said. “It’s being able to lift something and holding it for longer than one rep. It’s doing that and continuing to do that for two and half hours.”
Fellow senior Rod Salazar cherishes the bond he’s made with his fellow teammates just as any other athlete in their sport. He says it’s what keeps him motivated to continue to improve.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s challenging and it’s a good workout,” Salazar said. “The bonding with your teammates is also something that I think attracts you to stay with the team.”
Jones, a former football player in high school, said the feeling he gets while cheering is similar to when he stepped on the field in pads.
It’s the sensation of the crowd that keeps him going every time the Phoenix perform on the field.
“When there’s an intense game, you have that energy when you’re on the court performing,” he said. “You’re just really energized, it’s a great feeling.”