What it’s like being a Saddleback cheerleader

Cambria Kearney gives her perspective of being a college cheerleader

Cambria Kearney cheers at a football game on the sideline (Provided by Cambria Kearney)

The commitment, drive, and athleticism our Saddleback cheerleaders have is usually glossed over for the athletes they cheer for. Sometimes, sport game goers forget that these athletes are also a part of the game. Cambria Kearney, a freshman cheerleader from San Clemente, spoke of how her experience around the sport and her experience participating on Saddleback’s cheer team.

Kearney has been drawn to cheer ever since she was a sophomore at San Clemente High School. After going to every football game, she realized how much she wanted to join.

“I would watch the cheerleaders stunt and tumble, wondering what it would feel like to do that,” Kearney said.

Just like any sport, practice is an integral part, lending itself to the amount of commitment needed to be part of the team. Saddleback cheerleaders practice three times a week. Every Monday and Wednesday from 9-10:15 and Friday from 8-10. On top of that, they also meet a few hours before every game.

“We are expected to condition outside of practice as well as go over new choreography and stunt counts.”

Such a time commitment may take a toll on some; however, Cambria can efficiently balance both cheer and school by fitting in homework anywhere she can in her busy schedule.

With such a great football season this year, Kearney has seen many great games cheering for the football team. Her favorite was an away game at Mt. San Antonio College.

“The energy from the cheer team, football team, and crowd is the most energy and spirit I have witnessed at a football game.”

Kearney was very vocal about how much she loves this team, but that doesn’t mean that it has come with some difficulty.

“The hardest part of cheer for me is memorizing the choreography. It is a challenge for me sometimes, but I look forward to working hard and accomplishing my goal of memorizing the dances.”

One the other hand, Kearney has loved the environment and people she has met through joining the team. She said that she became good friends with her teammates and enjoyed the abundance of stunts that Saddleback cheerleaders do.

“My favorite part of being a Saddleback cheerleader is getting to meet amazing and kind, new people,” Kearney said. “It also challenges me, which I appreciate.”

Kearney’s hopes for transferring are to attend UC Davis and join their sideline cheer team and their STUNT team, which treats cheer as a more competitive sport.

Advising future Gaucho cheerleaders, Kearney said, “I would tell future Gaucho cheerleaders to be open to trying new things. Whether that is a collegiate stunt or trying a new dance style, I would recommend them to go for it.”

Kearney reiterated how thankful she is to be part of Saddleback’s cheer team and how it’s pushed her. She said that she is grateful to have met so many incredible people through this sport and how excited she is to cheer next season.

“Having the opportunity to be part of Saddleback cheer and meeting such amazing individuals is something I will always be thankful for.”