By: Emma Zuder
(GREENSBURG, Pa.) — “I want people to see us as a positive impact on the campus. My goal is to really be a part of Seton Hill, to be a positive influence. To leave a good impression,” said head cheerleading coach at Seton Hill University, Katie Borsuk.
Borsuk, who is also SHU’s dance team coach, dance academy coordinator, adjunct dance professor, and mother of two who are under two years old, undertook the restarting of the Cheerleading program in June. SHU’s last head coach retired in the fall of 2020 in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has been difficult to start back up since.
Last year, however, Borsuk, along with students interested in restarting the program, was in constant contact with the vice president for student affairs and athletics, Rosalie Carpenter, to make it happen.
Borsuk and the students had very little time to pull the program together. “I got this position late in the game. If I knew at the end of the semester I would have had more time. It was after the semester was over I had the position and we had to have tryouts in the summer,” said Borsuk.
“It was hard; I had nothing. The program was starting from the ground up,” said Borsuk. Borsuk said her experience as the dance team coach helped out with taking over the program. “It was a helpful guide to making our practice schedule and how that works well with being a student-athlete. As far as cheer and sidelines, I really rely on my captains, Lexi Michelle, Alyssa Gabris, and Zoey Sicklr. They helped me prepare cheers for the games at different events. We rely on each other.”
Senior captain Lexi Michelle, who has been cheering since the third grade, agreed that it was a quick turnaround to start up the program and be ready for the fall 2022 season. “We had to teach most positions, flyers, bases, and back spots. It was a lot of trial and error.”
“It was rough at first but I believe the team bonding helped us get to know each other and trust each other,” said Michelle, who was on the SHU cheerleading team her freshman year. Michelle said she hosted many movie nights and team bonding activities, which included tie-dying shirts, to get to know her new teammates. “It’s been two years since we had cheerleading, and most of my teammates from freshman year graduated. We had three returners, including myself.”
“I applied for a captain position because I felt as a returner I knew the role of a Seton Hill University cheerleader,” said Michelle. “I really liked my freshman year on the cheerleading squad because we were family. I wanted to be the leader of that this year, you know? Let’s do that family atmosphere again.”
Along with Michelle, Borsuk said she tries to make it “family-oriented”. “Now that you’re my own team you’re my kids too. We support one another,” she said.
Borsuk has many goals and plans for the cheerleading program this year. “The ultimate goal is to cheer at all games and away. Something that’s new this year is that we greet our fans as they come into the stadium,” said Borsuk. Aside from football games, the cheerleading team was also raising spirit at the involvement fair and target takeover. In the future, Borsuk hopes to involve the team in the Greensburg holiday parade, attend competitions, and cheer for other sports aside from football and basketball.
Borsuk also hoped to expand the cheerleading squad. “I capped it at 20 this year. Ultimately, I hope, if the talent, love, and passion is there for cheerleading I would like to take more than 20.”
Currently, the squad has five available spots. Borsuk and Michelle both talked about hosting tryouts again in December before the spring semester.
Michelle encouraged all students to try out for the team. “We all come from different backgrounds. I was close friends with my teammates freshman year and I am close friends with my teammates again senior year. You meet all new people and become family.”
Borsuk welcomed all extracurriculars, programs, and sports to reach out to her to include the cheerleading team or dance team at events. Borsuk can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.