The UC Santa Barbara cheerleaders set out to stun—and stunt for—future Gauchos as cheer team flyer Devyn Jauch performed a series of tricks high above the commotion of Spring Insight with the help of her stunting partner Jonathan Sturholm.
As potential students explored the campus at the Office of Student Life’s, the cheer team’s game day squad set out to inform potential students about UCSB cheerleading. Cheerleading was one of many organizations tabling at the Recreation Center to recruit new freshmen and transfer students, drawing the attention of everyone who walked into the gym as Jauch, a first-year biology major, soared through the air.
Jonathan Sturholm, a second-year biology major and Jauch’s stunting partner, said the cheer team’s tabling was primarily directed toward attracting people who cheered in high school, to get them excited about cheering for UCSB. However, Sturholm admitted he had never tried cheer before coming to college.
“I never cheered before. Football, wrestling, and baseball in high school and now I am a cheerleader,” Sturholm.
Taylor Steinhibler, the team captain and a fourth-year bio-psychology major, said the team wants to increase the program’s visibility and and involve those interested to “keep the program alive.”
Kristina Trejo, a fourth-year sociology major, has been cheerleading most of her life. When she visited UCSB four years ago for Spring Insight, she said there was “just one cheerleader” that approached Trejo and told her about tryouts. Now as a graduating senior, Trejo said she is trying to encourage future Gauchos to follow in her footsteps and join the cheer team.
The cheerleading team has a game day squad, a competition team, and both coed and all girls cheer squads under its umbrella team. While the game day squad remained in Santa Barbara encouraging students to try out for the team this weekend, the competition team was at Daytona Beach, Florida, competing at the National Cheer Association’s (NCA) Nationals.
“It’s [UCSB’s] first time competing at NCA Nationals,” Sturholm said. He also mentioned how the game day squad goes to both men’s and women’s basketball and soccer games to “pump up the crowd.”
Jauch said the cheerleading team wants potential students to walk away knowing “[cheer] is a family and a community. It’s a great way to get involved on campus.”
“We just want to make this a really good, fun program,” Jauch said.
In its first appearance at the NCA Nationals, Santa Barbara’s cheer team participated in the Intermediate Small Coed I category of the Challenge Cup competition.
The only California based university within the competitive category, UCSB managed to finish in sixth-place with a final score of 76.48 points in Day Two of the Nationals.
Able to place two standings above last place, an enticing future seems to be ahead for UCSB’s cheer team as this past weekend was the first step in its progression.