Cheering on the Broncos

Recently Broncos Illustrated sat down with members of the Broncos cheerleading team to find out a little bit about them. We talked to Head Coach Tracy Lentz, seniors and team captains Aubrey Sharp and Lauren Scheill and freshman Jacob Siler. Among other things they talked about how they became a cheerleader, about what the training involved being cheerleaders about what they will be able to take with them when they graduate.

How long have you been cheerleaders?

Aubrey: I'm in my eighth year.

Lauren: Seventh.

Jacob: This is my fourth.

What made you become a cheerleader?

Jacob: Well, I was in gymnastics until I was thirteen and I threw out my hip. So I couldn't do gymnastics competitively anymore because it's so fast moving and David Davenport was on the cheerleading team at my school and my freshman year he tried to get me to be a cheerleader. When he left I decided to become a cheerleader myself.

Jacob talks about being able to do back flips.

"Dave Davenport can also do back flips but he doesn't like to do it and that's just from my gymnastics training."

What kind of work ethic does it take to stay in shape to cheer on the Broncos?

Aubrey: I think it takes a big work ethic because we have to come in and do weight training twice a week for an hour and we have a new trainer this year that works us pretty hard so, a pretty good amount of effort.

Jacob: Most of the guys work out more. Most of the guys work out every day. Come in at least an hour every day just to lift weights and stay in shape.

What class holds the most amount of members right now on the squad?

Jacob: I think the seniors do.

Aubrey: Yeah, I think between guys and girls there are more seniors.

Lauren: There are a lot of sophomores though.

Tracy: There's a lot of sophomores because of Tara (Sharp), Gabby (Kestner), Bam (Katie Bambard), John (Jansen) and David the sophomores are the biggest group.

Aubrey comments on whether or not the male cheerleaders holding them up in the air are the younger members of the squad.

"Yeah, actually."

So they haven't developed the weight training yet?

Tracy: In the grip. The guys have to learn a lot of grips on how to hold the feet so the girls are steady up there. They are not always comfortable in getting your hands flat and bending your hands and your wrists in positions they haven't done before. Most of them come from they were wrestlers in high school, football players, tennis players and soccer players. So when they come into a college atmosphere this is completely new they've never done anything like this before and it also using a lot I think using a lot of different muscle groups need to be built up that they never had the need to be built up before.

Aubrey: I think using a lot of technique for the guys that they get the experience because it's not like anything you can teach them in one day by explaining it.

They talk about their back flips and how they got so good doing their back flips.

Aubrey: I've been in gymnastics since I was three or four. So a lot of us have grown up doing gymnastics and then some girls learn gymnastics once they get involved in cheerleading. So it's just a lot of practicing and all that kind of stuff that goes with that.

Lauren: I learned it when I was in high school and my team started going to gymnastics and we all had to do that before we could make varsity so I learned it through gymnastics.

Aubrey talks about what brought her to WMU.

"When I was in high school we came to some football games and stuff like that. I just saw the cheerleaders on the field and I thought that's something I really would like to be a part of. So I just really tried to train on things in high school and I would go with some of the cheerleaders because I'm from this town I would go and work with them and I am in my senior year of high school and stuff. Kind of get a little bit of an in before I tried out."

Did she grow up knowing the Broncos?

"Yes, I grew up knowing them."

She talks about whether or not she grew up a Bronco fan or a fan of another NCAA D-I school.

"No, I was a Bronco fan."

Lauren talks about how she became a Bronco.

"From Honors College actually. That's why I came for a scholarship competition and once I saw the Honors College and how small it was because you got little classes."

She tells us where she came to WMU from.

"Clinton Township."

She tells us how she learned about the Broncos.

"My dad had gone to Western. So I knew of it by him."

Jacob tells us how he came to Western Michigan.

Jacob: This is the only school I applied for. I don't really know why I came I just decided to come to Western.

He tells us where his home town is.

"Bronson, Michigan."

He talks about whether or not he grew up a Bronco fan.

Jacob: I never followed sports ever in high school. I didn't do any of the major sports and I never competed in any major sporting events it's just something I never did do.

They talk about what degree they are seeking at WMU.

Jacob: Right now it's Computer Information Systems.

Lauren: Bio Medicine.

Aubrey: Marketing.

Aubrey and Lauren look back at their careers at Western Michigan University.

Aubrey: I can't think of anything I wouldn't think of again. I think what I am going to miss the most is being a part of the game, being down their on the field and being a part of what's going on rather than just sitting in the crowd and watching. I think what I will end up taking with me is a lot of people skills I've developed because we have to constantly do community relations and stuff like that and through that we've learned how to deal a lot with people and that type of thing.

Lauren: I think I'm going to miss being so involved in everything. I think it's going to help me a lot with being a leader and working with people and once when I become a doctor.

Jacob tells us what class he's in.

"I'm a freshman."

They talk about their time on the team with Coach Lentz.

Aubrey: Well she was my high school coach too. There are some things that are the same and some things that are different. She is really laid back to work with. We are not afraid to approach her with things but at the same time everyone thinks they're a part of being in charge and everyone goes to her and listens to what she has to say. A lot of us were on the team with another coach before she came here. It was a really smooth transition I think between coaches. She's always been real easy to work with and she does a good job leading our team.

Lauren: She always lets us help bring our ideas on what we think we should be doing but she's able to get us more involved with the Athletic Department in a lot of different areas.

Jacob: I really haven't got to know her to well but she seems really laid back. She just lets you learn at your own pace. She doesn't push you really hard to learn something but she pushes you at the same time.

Jacob talks about how he got into cheerleading.

"My freshman year (at Bronson) was Dave's senior year and that's the first year he did cheerleading. Then I did it all three years and I was the only guy cheerleader, my sophomore through senior year. Then there were a couple of guys before that. One guy was a cheerleader at U of M. So there's always been like one or two guy cheerleaders. It's really different. Guys as cheerleaders are starting to get a lot bigger now. When I started in my sophomore year I was the only guy in the conference as a guy cheerleader. Then this last year there were two at one school, there is two at Coldwater which is out-of-conference but they are right next to us, there's one at Centerville and their were two at I think...I'm not sure. So, I feel like I set an example like you can do it guys can go out and cheerlead in high school like a small, small school. My school has like a hundred people in each class just really tiny it's really strange for a guy cheerleader to be on the team than a school that has more."

They talk about their favorite sports at Western Michigan University.

Aubrey: I actually really like basketball but I have to say it's kind of a tie between basketball and football because football there is a lot more events going on around it at least at the beginning of the game before everyone seems to leave (she says sarcastically). There are a lot more students and everything to cheer to. There are not a lot of students that always come to basketball games so it's more fun to cheer to a group of your peers like at the football games. But I think I'm tied between basketball and football.

Lauren: Basketball because I like the smaller environment.

They talk about their most memorable road trip.

Aubrey: I have to say Cleveland last year when we won the MAC. I think that was a lot of fun and the girl's basketball team really involved us and treated us like we were a part of it and that was really neat for us.

Lauren: I would have to say that and going to California after they won the MAC Championship.

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