‘Building Year’ Means You Can Always Get Better

2016-17 Boyer Valley Basketball Cheer Roster

  • Daina Rucker, 12
  • Cheyann Wher, 11
  • Christy Nemiela, 11
  • Caleigh Van Houten, 10
  • Lia Adams, 09
  • Maci Segebart, 09
  • Mascot Nick Ahart, 11
What are your expectations of this years basketball squad? (Questions from Christy Nemiela, correspondent for ‘the Voice,’ our student newspaper)
This is seems to be shaping up to be what coaches call a “rebuilding year.” We lost Brittany Shumate to wrestling, Ella Meyer to basketball and Liberty Monk to her job. Olivia Heisted is cheering for wrestling but not for basketball. 
Caleigh Van Houten will cheer for both wrestling and basketball, which means she’ll miss some basketball games. Meanwhile Cheyann Wehr plays basketball, so she can’t cheer for girls games. Cheyann, Daina Rucker and Caleigh are all on drill squad, so we usually lose them for almost a whole quarter during boys home games. That’s kind of the trade-off for being a small school- everyone has the opportunity to participate in more than one thing at a time.
While Daina, Caleigh and Christy Nemiela have all cheered before, none of them have cheered during basketball which is a very different animal than football. We also have two freshmen; Maci Segebart and Lia Adams, who’ve never cheered before at all. We’re going to have Christy and Caleigh work with them as much as we can at practice, but we really need more experienced cheerleaders to help them, but they aren’t available for practice because of their jobs and/or basketball practice.
In spite of all those obstacles, I’m still positive about this season. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of the crowds (many of whom are your classmates) and try to get them to cheer with you. Christy and Caleigh have proved to me over and over again that they’re willing to put themselves out there no matter what the circumstances are. Cheyann has shown that she can lead, encourage and inspire younger and less experienced cheerleaders even when she’s struggling with her own energy levels and health issues. And Lia and Maci have a lot of enthusiasm for this, even though it can be intimidating.
It’s strange. I’ve been coaching for 24 years now, 16 of them at Boyer Valley. Some years there are more girls interested in cheering for basketball and you can’t get any willing to cheer for football. This year we had eight out for football, but lost strong cheerleaders with experience when it came time for basketball. There have been times when we had steady numbers both seasons for a few years and years when it seemed like no one was interested. I understand basketball can be a bear with games two or sometimes even three times a week and not just on Friday night like football. Away games get late. Buses are cold and gyms are crowded and hot- but that’s how memories are made.

What is one thing that you might be concerned about during games? 
If Cheyann can stay healthy, she’ll be able to pass on her experience. But without her during girls games, I’m concerned about cheerleaders being alert to what’s going on with the game, the officials, and the crowd. They don’t have the instincts they need to start or stop the appropriate chant at the right times. 
For a couple years now I’ve been trying to be on squad’s cases about staying focused. Our job is to lead the crowd in cheers. When we spend too much time chatting with our friends or snacking, it becomes a distraction. Cheer squads really need to watch the game, lead cheers or discuss plans and strategies for the next free throw or time out.  
What is your hope for the crowd?
Experienced cheer squads an mascots can sense when crowds are getting edgy and can distract them or re-direct their energy. I don’t want to sound judgmental, but I’ve been noticing that Boyer Valley fans getting carried away sometimes. Not all the time. Thankfully there haven’t been too many cases of poor sportsmanship, but when you’re really wrapped up in a game, you have to be careful not to go negative. We want to respect out opponents fans, players and coaches. We want to respect our officials and we want to stay proud of our players and let our coaches do the coaching. 
My hope is that our crowds will support our spirit squad and be patient with them as they learn and improve. My hope is that our crowds will continue to support our student athletes with the passion and energy we’ve become accustomed to over the last several years. But my hope for the crowd is also that they’ll maintain a level of sportsmanship and character that makes you proud to be a Bulldog.
Are you gonna try anything new this year or keep it traditional? 
I always encourage squads to pay attention to what other schools do, to see what kinds of things they could copy or adapt. I also encourage them to look for new cheers and chants online and to try and devise their own chants if they want to. Some years this happens naturally, “on-the-fly” during the season, which is really exciting. But right now, I just want to help them build their confidence. We definitely  need to work on our timing and synchronicity with this group. I’m always trying to push squads to be louder and have as deep a pitch as they can. If they can get those fundamentals by mid season, we’ll push further, if they get where they need to be by the end of the season, we’ll have a good foundation to build on next year. That’s the best thing about having freshmen and sophomores on squad, we know that we can always get better.

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