What has been a club sport for decades at Centre College will soon transition to the varsity level with the addition of a new program in competitive cheer and stunt. To lead the effort, a search will soon be launched to hire a full-time coach.
In announcing the addition, Centre AD Brad Fields said that the intent is to recruit, train and compete at the national level. As part of this, Centre will be joining UCA, the Universal Cheerleaders Association, which hosts some 50 regional events each year in advance of its national championship at the Walt Disney World Resort.
“This program will be yet another opportunity for talented student-athletes to be engaged in a rich, co-educational experience outside of the classroom,” Fields said.
According to Gina Nicoletti-Bellinger, the College’s associate athletic director, “The cheer and stunt team will not only compete regionally and nationally as a sport but also be at the forefront of Centre Athletics.”
Beyond providing game-day spirit at athletic events, she also envisions the new team “being involved in other activities throughout the campus community.”
Expanding the club sport has been a topic of discussion for some time, building on enthusiasm at Centre for a varsity-level team along with the burgeoning interest nationwide in competitive cheer and stunt programs.
Nicoletti-Bellinger’s research identified that there are more than 3.3 million pre-teen to college-aged cheerleaders across the nation.
Because no new facilities will be needed for the team, it can be up and running quickly.
Fields said the plan is to grow the program over the next several years and build the roster. He expects adding a number of uniquely recruited student-athletes with each incoming class.
by Michael Strysick
August 7, 2019