After capturing back-to-back Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference titles, Lourdes University’s competitive cheer squad is looking to continue its climb on the national level as the 2019 season begins.
Head coach Chelsea Leis, the reigning two-time WHAC Coach of the Year, returns eight cheerleaders from last year’s squad, which finished a program-best seventh at the NAIA National Championship. With a great deal of experience returning, Lourdes has also added six newcomers to the roster this season, looking to earn a third straight trip to the NAIA National Championship and fourth overall as a program.
For the second straight year, juniors Noelle Miller and Kaitlyn Probst will serve as co-captains for the Gray Wolves. Miller earned NAIA All-America for the second straight season as a sophomore while being named the WHAC Cheerleader of the Year. Probst garnered Second Team All-WHAC honors for the second time in her career last year.
A talented senior class will also provide leadership for Lourdes throughout the 2019 season. Michael Busse has been a mainstay in the lineup for the Gray Wolves, while flyers Jennifer Chudey and Bayley Rochon have helped the team add difficulty in their stunts. Chudey was also an All-American for the Gray Wolves one season ago along with earning Second Team All-WHAC accolades.
Senior Cassidy Lutz joins Miller, Chudey, and Probst as the team’s main tumblers as Lourdes has seen its underclassmen make a step up on the floor.
Haley Roe and Aubrey Lemley should serve as key components as bases this year while the team’s difficulty in pyramids will be strong because of mid-layers Daion Buford and Meagan Weller.
Joe Gallardo and Chastin Peppers have both joined the roster this year giving Lourdes three males, while Emily Pitts gained experience competing for the first time last year, and will look to make a larger impact as a sophomore. Freshman Julia Campos will be making her collegiate debut as a Gray Wolf in 2019 after competing in cross country during the fall season.
Lourdes opens its season on Jan. 11 at Concordia (Mich.), and will compete five times total prior to the 2019 WHAC Championships, which will take place on Feb. 15 and will be hosted by Siena Heights.
If the Gray Wolves can continue to add difficulty to their routine throughout the season and perform clean routines, another exciting season should be in store for the team. If Lourdes can peak at the end of the year as it has the last two seasons, the Gray Wolves have the ability to capture their third straight WHAC title and earn another trip to the national stage.