The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 21, 2007

Features

CCHS cheer team debuts at Florida's Gator Bowl

It was big news this fall when the CCHS cheerleaders were invited to perform during half-time
Lizz Oberg (left) and Julie Manganella high kick during practive for their Gator Bowl performance on New Year's Day. (Photo by Mollie McPhee Ho)
at the Gator Bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida, on New Year's Day. Not only do the 20 lucky girls and their coach, Nicole Lonergan, get to ring in 2008 sans two feet of snow, they get to be on television. And from what I've heard from the girls themselves, there could not be more excitement.

Lonergan herself chose the cheerleaders from both the football and basketball squads. Carlisle students going to the Gator Bowl are Lizz Oberg, Brooke Chateauneuf, Sydney Callahan, Katie Samargya and Julie Manganella. When Callahan found out she was going to be in the parade and half-time show, she said, "I was really excited. I've never been to a bowl game before or a college game."

This is not the first time C-C's team has been invited to be in a half-time show. As Oberg says, "It's cool that we get to go, especially since we don't know why they even chose us [as one of 30 teams nationwide]. But this is the best group of girls that could be going. We're more ready now than we would have been a few years ago." In 2005, the football cheer team was asked to be a part of the first Patriots half-time at Gillette Stadium, and Oberg participated. "It was mostly just being assigned a place to hold a banner; just a lot of walking in patterns. The Gator Bowl is actual choreography."

The C-C squad was invited to perform at the Gator Bowl, but they had to raise the money to actually attend the game. Starting in October, during football season, the cheer team started to concentrate on fund-raising. The first-ever CCHS Cheer Classic, a cheer competition that involved teams from local high schools, was held in the upper gym in October. A large amount of the money needed came from the event, as did great reviews and a lot of fun, but the squad has been bake-selling like crazy since the beginning of the year to earn the rest of the funds. As if being on the team and raising money does not fill up enough of their time, the Gator Bowl girls meet on Saturdays for practice, learning the specific choreography for half-time. Oberg stressed the small amount of time the team has been given to actually practice as a unit. "We only have about one practice a week for the Gator Bowl, because basketball cheerleading is still going on," she explains. "The video that we learn [the half-time choreography] from only arrived two weeks ago, so we are crunched for time."

The trip itself will be a combination of working hard, and playing hard. The majority of the mornings and afternoons will be spent in rehearsal for half-time, including a morning master class taught by the choreographer. However, the girls get a night out on the town to relax, and a special New Year's Eve dinner and dance. Compared to being in the parade and the half-time show, all this celebrating is just icing on the cake. "I'm so excited!" exclaims Callahan. "The people on the plane are going to hate us!"

The Gator Bowl has most of the school buzzing. Chateauneuf agrees: "Being on national TV is way more interesting than most stuff that happens at C-C."

After they've cheered so much for our school, it's only fair that we all turn on our televisions and cheer for these girls in return as they make their national debut.The game and half-time show will be aired on CBS on January 1 at 1 p.m.


2007 The Carlisle Mosquito