We’d like to begin by saying congrats to this week’s Campus Celebrity as well as the rest of the UNH Cheer team for recently placing at nationals! Gabi is a first-time UNH cheerleader this year, but is no stranger to the sport. She’s been cheering for years and practiced hard to make the UNH team this year. Did we mention she’s also a total smokeshow (literally! Gabi was featured on Barstool sports this past semester!)? We got the chance to interview Gabi about her experience at Daytona and as a member of UNH cheer! Here’s what we found out:
How long have you been cheering for?
I started gymnastics at a very young age and then switched over to cheerleading when I was about 9 years old.
What made you want to try out of the UNH team?
I didn’t try out my freshman year and completely regretted it. Seeing the girls at football games made me realize how much I missed it! I started tumbling again and trained hard for the next tryouts.
You must be a busy girl as a nutrition major and member of the team. How many hours a week do you practice?
A lot of people are surprised to know that we have such a long season. In the fall and winter, practice hours include normal practice time as well as football or basketball games, ranging between 4-7 hours. After winter break, competition season sets in and we have extended practices 3-4 times a week.
Do you find it hard to keep a balance between schoolwork, a social life and practice times?
Having to schedule my social life and homework time around practice isn’t hard at all and actually keeps me more organized.
What was the best part about going to Daytona?
Performing our routine in the Bandshell. It looks like a giant sand castle located right on the beach, open to the outside (very Bring It On). It is such an adrenaline rush! Definitely something I will always remember.
Did you guys have any downtime? If so, what did you do?
The first couple days were strictly for practicing and getting our heads in the game for our performances. The last day was a beach day!
What team would you say is your biggest competition?
Kennesaw had been our biggest competition. In 2010 and 2011, they placed first in our division, while we were close behind in second. This year, we the beat the two-time National Champions! Definitely a huge feat for our team, especially for the veterans.
Did you expect to place 3rd?
With such talented teams in the finals round, we weren’t sure what the outcome would be. Our performance in the finals was one of the best performances we have had and could only hope that we would be recognized for that.
I heard there was a mix-up with scorning? What happened and when did you find out?
We were not scored in the correct brackets for both our first and second performances. Our coach had a conference with NCA (National Cheerleading Association) and it was determined that our degree of difficulty was not scored in the appropriate range. If we had been scored in the correct bracket, we would be in second place. Although they can’t change the scores now, it still feels good to be recognized by NCA. Despite the discrepancy, we performed to the best of our ability and were very proud of our performance.
What’s your favorite part of cheering? Tumbling? Dancing? Stunting?
Stunting hands down!
What’s your favorite UNH sports team (besides the cheer team!)?
The football team. They have some very exciting games to cheer at and the crowd is great and very involved (makes our job a lot easier!)
What are some of the team goals for next season?
Whether we have a competitive team or not, we all want to stick together and stay as a team. We have such a great deal of talent and we believe that this team can go places as we plan to do so!