Cheer coach adds Saturday practices and conditioning

Chelsea No, Staff Writer

The cheerleading team is adjusting to the new varsity coach, Britney White, who brings 12 years of coach’s experience to the Bruin cheer team.
White, who resides in Sacramento, graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in English; she says she wanted to become a teacher, but was deterred by the low pay.
“Teaching doesn’t allow me to live in the lifestyle I want, comfortably,” White said. “It’s an exceptionally rewarding job that unfortunately underpays significantly.”
White also worked for Varsity Spiri, a cheerleading company that does everything from sponsoring cheerleading camps to designing uniforms.
She currently works for an insurance administration company in Concord, Calif.
One new expectation is that the cheerleaders must participate in conditioning in addition to practices.
“In order to prevent injury my athletes need to be at the top of their physical game,” White said.
“The conditioning kills me,” sophomore Victoria Lopez said. “It’s so hard, but I like it because it keeps me in good shape.”
Another change is that the squads only have Saturday to learn and practice their routines so students can focus more on school and other extracurriculars.
“What a lot coaches fail to realize is that these student athletes are primarily students,” White said. “I wanted to give my athletes the chance to participate in other events, join clubs, get a job, volunteer without having to worry about missing practice.”
The cheer team has had mixed reactions to the change.
“I don’t like Saturday practices because having practice only once a week, we can’t get anything done enough in time and it takes up vacation or being with family,” Varsity captain Dana Ford said. “So that is why me and the other captain Casey hold extra practices through the week on Tuesday-Thursday to get everything we need to get done and it’s also good team bonding.”
The cheer captains say they have worked hard to improve the team’s skills.
“As one of the Varsity captains, I believe that the way to improve is to critique different techniques and provide feedback,” varsity captain Casey Faamausili said. “I know that some girls may not like being critiqued, but that’s how they’re going to improve their skills and become better athletes.”
One area of concern for the cheer squad is safety while doing tumbling drills. The squads often practice outside without mats.
“Mats are actually far less safe than the grass,” White said. “Those mats are out of date and are actually too thin to stunt or tumble safely on.”
The cheerleading team also changed its uniforms.
“The uniforms needed an upgrade,” White said. “Cheer uniforms, just like everyday clothes, go in and out of style.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is the cost to participate in cheer — but the team is already working on fundraisers.
The team has been able to sell Da Vinci’s tickets, cookie dough, and fireworks as fundraisers for cheerleading camp. “Each fundraiser was a success, almost all of our cheerleaders were able to go to camp,” Faamausili said. “It makes me proud to see how all of our cheerleaders are so dedicated and took the time and effort to be able to fundraise.”
The cheerleading team attended cheer camp at UC Santa Cruz on July 22-24, even though they only had four practices prior to it. The team won five awards, including two Top Banana awards, which signifies which team is the most spirited.
“I am confident that this season will be a success with great performances and community involvement,” White said. “The cheerleaders have improved greatly everything from their stunting ability to their routines which are clean, polished, and most importantly, safe.”