Her Campus Leeds talks to Kristina Smirnoffa, a member of Leeds Celtics Cheer Committee!
Hey Kristina! So, tell us a bit about yourself…
Hi! I’m a second year Fine Art student who’s originally from Russia, but I’ve been in the UK since I was 12. I am on the Leeds Celtics Cheerleading Committee this year.
How did you get involved with cheerleading?
I had never done cheer before but I have always been fascinated by it. I remember watching Bring It On when I was younger and wishing that I could do what they do! Last year I joined the Match team, a more relaxed beginners team where we learn basic stunting and a dance routine to perform at American Football and Basketball games. I also joined Pom Team last year, and at first it was a big challenge for me as I was never really sporty and pom is a competitive cheer dance team. Despite the intial worries I had so much fun doing it, and it gave me a sense of what cheer competitions are really like.
What is your favourite thing about cheerleading?
I am on the Match, Pom and All-Girl Level 1 teams this year and I absolutely love it. As well as being on these teams I am also on the Committee as a Social Sec, and I share a the coaching job for Match team. I like a lot of things about cheerleading. I love basing on All-Girl and I love the new skills I am learning this year. It’s also loads of fun organising events and coming up with a dance routine. Also, most of my friends at uni are on the cheer team so training is hard work but also sociable!
What’s a typical week like for you?
On Mondays, we have beginners tumbling sessions. I find them extremely hard as I haven’t done tumbling since I was younger. However, after spending last Monday falling on my butt in front of a bunch of six year olds, I’m hoping I’ll improve. On Tuesday we have Match team training. My friend Sofia and I came up with a dance that we are teaching to the team to perform at the games. Wednesdays are usually sports nights out, and quite often we have our socials with the other Celtics cheer teams, as well as joint socials with the American Football and Basketball teams. On Thursdays, we have three hours of All-Girl training; this is extremely tiring but it could not be more fun. It feels so satisfying when you get a stunt completed perfectly. On Fridays, we have two hours of Pom training. We work a lot on conditioning as we want to improve on last year’s performance.
How can people get involved in cheer?
Match team does not have tryouts which is great for people who are worried about getting on to the competitive teams. If you’re interested get in touch with me – we’ve already started learning the routine but after a few practices I’m sure you could pick it up and become part of the team. Pom is more for girls who are interested in dance rather than stunting, and the tryouts have already passed. Tryouts for the comp teams are every October and even the returners have to tryout again, and this year we have a new beginners team which is great for people who have never done it before.
Anything exciting planned that we should know about?
We have many exciting socials coming up! Our welcome drinks are going to be Royal Ascot-themed, where the committee are the judges, returners are the jockeys and freshers are horses. We’ve planned loads of fun races and games that will hopefully help everyone become friends. We also go on tour during the Easter holidays, which I am already looking forward to the most. Not only do you get a cheeky tan, but you also get to know other Celtic teams so much better.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Most of the girls (and boys!) on the teams had never done cheerleading before coming to university, and now they compete nationally and internationally. Last year both of the competitive teams became National Champions and most of them only started last year!