Manhattan Cheer Takes the Jump from Squad to Club Team

Manhattan College’s Club Cheer team poses at the MAAC Tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey. ALEXA FOX/COURTESY

By Isaiah Rosario, Sports Editor

During the fall club fair, it was announced to the cheerleading squad that they would now be a club team for the extended future. With the introduction of becoming a club team also comes the introduction of dues for each member of the team. 

Dues will have the opportunity to cover the cheer squad competing at events such as nationals and will be potentially used to receive new gear and use that money for supplies for fundraising events.  

The concept of dues for the cheerleading squad is a new concept that no cheerleader in Manhattan has experienced during their time here, which caused members of the cheer squad to adapt to a new financial aspect of being a club sport. 

“ I think everyone’s kind of adapted pretty well,” senior Carter Silane said. “Our coach is very understanding, if there are any issues where the dues cannot be paid, we can go to her and she’ll find a way to make sure that everyone can still participate.”

An additional change that the cheerleaders experienced was a change within the coaching of the team. Alumni Stephanie Riggi stepped in to be the club team’s full-time head coach. There is also an assistant coach in the process of being hired but is waiting for some paperwork to be finalized before the move is official. 

Members of the cheerleading squad spoke nothing but great things about Riggi’s coaching in the past as she was a past assistant coach.

“[Riggi] always been great with us,” senior Deirianny Saldivar said. “The coaching staff has always been very helpful and has always encouraged us and kept the team going. If anything, it’s kind of encouraged us to kind of like take a step forward into becoming a competitive team, rather than just a club.”

With the transition of new coaching, comes slight changes within the team. Although some cheerleaders have not noticed a ton of changes, senior Emily Gianni has noticed one important change. 

“I definitely think that we’re taking the team more seriously now,” Gianni said. “Not that it wasn’t serious before, but we’re able to focus on similar aspirations and goals that we all have. Girls are now more interested in tumbling skills and bettering their stunting skills, rather than it just being like a fun club to join and not as much as a commitment.” 

With being a club team officially on campus, there will tend to be more recognition and visibility amongst the team, as now they are able to compete at a national level, which the team has been unable to do in the past. 

“Visibility and recognition are two of the things that I think are most important among a cohesive student body,” senior Alexa Fox said. “Just by being listed and included as a club sport, I think that already gives us the right to the next step towards becoming something bigger.” 

Despite the club sport being seen as a just club in the past, members of cheerleading wanted to reiterate the fact that now they are more than just a club with hopes and aspirations of getting closer to athletics. 

“Having that recognition from the administration, I know it’ll just trickle down to the rest of the student body and have everyone understand that we take this program seriously,” Fox said. “Yes, we do it for fun, always having fun is the grounds for anything that you do in life, but we just want to have that additional edge and just take it a step further than just having fun. We want people to see that what we do is serious. We take it just as seriously as any other sport, and we just want everyone to know that too.”

Despite the introduction of the title of a club team on campus, anyone who is interested in cheerleading is more than welcome to try out for the club sport.  

“If you don’t have any cheer experience, you are still encouraged to try out and a lot of girls who haven’t done cheerleading are on the team,” senior Victoria Aulov said. “One of our executive members hasn’t done cheer before coming to Manhattan College. It’s not so much trying to put pressure on people … it’s more the energy you bring, and your willingness to learn, it’s still going to be the same process. I feel the expectation of the energy and work you put in will be a lot higher, especially if you’re expected to compete.”