PERU – There was a lot of cheering going on the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving and it was not just because of the upcoming break.
The official word was released by Peru State president Dan Hanson and Bobcat athletic director Wayne Albury that beginning in the fall of 2019, the Bobcat cheerleading program would become a competitive sport at the College.
Hanson said, “Peru State continues to take great pride in its cheer team and their coaches. They have been wonderful ambassadors for the College. We have the highest expectations as these student-athlete begin to represent the College as a varsity team in competition.”
Peru State cheer coach Brooke Earnest, a former Bobcat cheerleader herself, was pleased to learn of the news. Earnest stated, “On behalf of our athletes and coaching staff, we are absolutely thrilled that Cheer has been declared a varsity sport at Peru State College.” Continuing, Earnest added, “For the past several years, we have been working on preparing ourselves for this day by recruiting, practicing, attending NCA camps, and even spending many hours in the weight room. We are ready to put in the extra work that it will take to be fully prepared to represent Peru State on the competition mat next winter.”
The Bobcats will compete next year in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) which holds a championship in February. The top team advances to the NAIA Championship generally held in March. Heart school Missouri Valley won the competitive cheer championship last year. The NAIA is in its third year of hosting cheer and dance as national championships. Presently, there are 73 schools competing in the NAIA competitive cheer. Peru State will become the eighth school in the Heart to sponsor a varsity team.
Outgoing senior cheerleader Dayana Camacho (Schuyler) was happy to learn about the College’s decision. Camacho noted, “The last four years of cheering at Peru has been such a blessing. From Brooke’s first year of coaching, I knew making cheer a competitive sport was going to be a goal. I’ve been able to work with the best of the best and they have made a great impact on the program. I take a lot of pride in knowing that I’ve contributed to the program and can’t wait to see them succeed next year!
Junior Molly Brown (Falls City) will have an opportunity to be a part of Peru State’s first competitive team. Brown commented, “I am so excited and grateful to be a part of this amazing team! Competing is one of the best feelings when it comes to cheer and being able to do it with all these amazing people makes it even better. Also a huge thank you to our coach, Dr. Hanson, and AD Albury for pushing to get cheer as a sport!”
Presently, there are 23 members of the cheerleading team. Earnest noted while that is a similar size to other Heart and/or NAIA schools, the number of members could be higher.
AD Albury added, “Coach Earnest and her volunteer assistants have really assembled a tremendous group of student-athletes who have been working hard to get better and better each year. In addition, this team is noted for its commitment to community service throughout the entire year.”
For more information, potential cheer team members can contact Earnest at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-872-2432. To follow Peru State cheer, you can go to Instagram: perustatecollegecheer, Facebook: Peru State College Cheerleading, or Twitter: PSCCheer.