May 1, 2013
The Purdue cheerleading program held its annual tryout for the 2013-14 co-ed and all-girl squads. This year's tryout was very competitive as 64 people were invited to the live tryout and more than 30 people did not receive a tryout bid.
"This year's tryout was very humbling as it reminded me of how lucky I am to have so many great athletes who want to be Boilermakers," said coach Steve Solberg. "I've never given out as many tryout bids as I did this year, which just tells me how much talent we had at our clinics this year. Also, I've never had to deny so many bids. In reality, we had around 100 people tryout for the program."
Tryouts started Friday, April 19, with the agility tests, interviews and open gym. The agility tests consisted of a shuttle run, vertical jump and a plank hold. "I started the agility test last year and found it valuable," said Solberg. "We didn't do as many tests as last year, but I still wanted to do it as it provides information that will help me throughout the season."
After the agility tests, all potential first-year members and select veterans had one-on-one interviews with each of the judges. Judges joining Solberg for tryouts were:
- Nicole Latham - Purdue assistant coach
- Mark Coleman - nationals choreographer and consultant
- Tiffany Garretson - former Purdue Cheerleader
Saturday morning started with just the potential first years learning our "Go Boilers Go" chant with signs (for the ladies ... megaphones for guys) and our "Boiler Up Boiler Up Go Boilers Go" cadence motions. Once they learned this, returners joined and everybody performed this with "Hail Purdue" and cadence No. 1. The heavier emphasis on game-day material is something Solberg and Latham wanted going into this year.
"Last year, we basically completely picked the squads based purely on talent and skill," said Latham. "While we had a very skilled team, we experienced a lot of struggles of getting some of these athletes caught up and game-day ready. Ultimately, we learned that we wanted more than just skill and we needed performers, which is very important for our game day experience."
After the game-day evaluation, there was standing and series tumbling followed by a lunch break. After lunch, those trying out for the co-ed team came back to stunt, and after that was all-girl stunting. Once stunting concluded the judges got together and made the first round of cuts.
Sunday was a practice atmosphere for the final day of tryouts. The first tryout was co-ed, followed by all-girl. Each practice emphasized the warm-up, tumbling warm-up, stunting and then "Hail Purdue" with stunts and standing tucks. After Sunday, final cuts were made and the 2013-14 Purdue cheerleading squads were selected!
This year's program is comprised of 50 cheerleaders. The state breakdown of the program for this year is:
- Indiana - 35 cheerleaders
- Illinois and New Jersey - 4 cheerleaders apiece
- Ohio - 2 cheerleaders
- Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin - 1 cheerleader each
"The talent from literally all around the country that came to tryout was unbelievable," said Coleman. "We picked up six new guys for co-ed who are all athletic and have a lot of potential which excites me, but the one thing that really stood out to me was the great attitudes everybody had throughout the process. I think both teams are going to be a lot of fun to work with."
"I was very impressed with the talent of the athletes at this year's tryouts," said judge and Purdue cheer alum Tiffany Garretson. "These student-athletes are very lucky to have the opportunity to cheer on the Boilermakers while getting a world-class education. I look forward to seeing the Purdue cheer program continue to grow and make the alumni and fans proud."
"We are a program made up of cheerleaders from nine different states, but now that doesn't matter because now we're all Boilermakers," said Solberg. "I can't wait to work with these new teams and can't wait to see what they accomplish this season."
The first practices of the summer will take place May 18 and 19, followed by another practice session June 29 and 30. The team's final summer practice session will be July 27 to 29 before heading to UCA college camp in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., which will take place Aug. 1 to 4.
To see the new squad, please go to: purduesports.com/sports/c-spirit/mtt/pur-c-spirit-mtt.html.