Democrat Photo by
THIS IS A SPORT AS
WELL: Participants at this past weekend’s
cheerleading camp in Liberty are put through their paces.
Thirteen members of the LCS cheerleading squad took part in
the three-day camp.
Three-Day Camp Hones
By Rob Potter
LIBERTY — August 25, 2000 – Just as area high school football
players are sweating through August practices, cheerleaders are also
spending their last few weeks of summer vacation rehearsing for the
upcoming gridiron season.
Last weekend at Liberty Central School, 13 members of the school’s
varsity and junior varsity cheerleading teams attended an intense
three-day camp in preparation for the upcoming football season.
In addition to learning several cheers and formations for football
cheering — and a few for basketball cheerleading later this
scholastic year — the girls ran and exercised to get into better
This is the third consecutive year that Liberty Cheerleading coach
Jesyca Murphy and her cheerleaders have held a summer camp at the
And it is at these sessions that Murphy and her athletes spend hours
honing their cheers and routines, in an effort to erase old stereotypes
and show game-day crowds that cheerleading has evolved from an
extracurricular activity to a serious sport.
“We’re working constantly to improve the image of cheerleading,”
Murphy said. “We have been working hard the past three years. These
girls here have paid for this camp out of their own pockets. Some of
them had to quit their summer jobs early to attend this camp.”
Putting the Liberty girls through their paces was Brian Fowler, an
instructor from Cheerleaders of America (COA). COA is a company that
conducts cheerleading clinics and camps at thousands of high schools
and colleges throughout the nation.
“We have used three different companies for our camps and COA has
been the best one so far,” Murphy said.
Although just 13 cheerleaders attended the camp, Liberty has
approximately 30 varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders — including
a few male students. Many of those at the camp wore t-shirts that
proclaimed “It’s not cheerleading.” (on the front) “It’s
Liberty Cheerleading!” (on the back) as they worked through the
From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the girls
practiced dance routines, cheers and formations. And if they were not
in precise sequence while reciting a cheer or raising their arms in a
routine, all of them hit the floor for push-ups or abdominal crunches.
“And they have to do push-ups if they say ‘I can’t,’” Murphy
But the breaks between routines were not always filled with push-ups
“It gets frustrating for them to hear ‘You’re doing it wrong, fix
it,’ over and over again,” Murphy noted. “So when they hit a
routine or formation, we give them all of the positive encouragement we
The hard work paid off, as both Murphy and Fowler noted improvements by
“They’ve been having a lot of fun, but they have also cleaned up
their routines a lot,” said Fowler, who was a three-year cheerleader
at the University of Cincinnati and has worked for COA since 1997. “For
the most part they have cleaned up their routines and have learned
about the importance of having cleaner motions and maintaining deeper
Despite all of the hard work, including literally hundreds of push-ups
and crunches, the Liberty cheerleaders seemed to enjoy the grueling
“It wasn’t really like a boot camp, it was a lot of fun,” said
Lorelei Reynolds, a 14-year-old ninth-grader on the JV squad. “We
know our dance routine better now and the experience is a boost for our
self esteem. I wish that the rest of the junior varsity and varsity
cheerleaders could have been here for this awesome experience.”
Senior Jamie Torres kept a journal of the three-day camp. Earlier this
week, she posted entries of her journal at www.americancheerleader.com,
the website of American Cheerleader magazine.
“It was a little hard and frustrating at times, but it was also a lot
of fun,” Torres, 17, said of the camp. “It helped us to be on one
page with our routines.”
Varsity squad members who participated in the camp were Sarah
Crescitelli, Kira Gibson, Yvonne Olivo and Torres. The JV cheerleaders
attending were Ashley Argent, Samantha Espinosa, Sara Fimognari, Amber
Kelder, Melinda Kelder, Antonia McVicker, Kristen Niero, Reynolds and