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The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

The Student News Site of Chatham University

Communiqué

Chatham’s cheer and dance team look to show strong spirit despite setbacks

Cheer+team+performs+tower+stunt+during+stoppage+of+basketball+game.
Jeanine Leech
Cheer team performs tower stunt during stoppage of basketball game.

Chatham University’s cheer and dance team looks to finish the semester strong after overcoming restrictions on its routines and the layoff of new coach, Jasmine Reynolds. 

In December, the University’s Athletic Department set new standards on the cheer routines that the team could perform in the Athletic and Fitness Center, citing liability concerns surrounding the limited space on the sidelines of the court. 

“Our gym is built differently than other gyms,” said Athletic Director Leonard Trevino. “In a lot of places you can sit your cheerleaders in the front row and they come out and they’re out of everybody’s way. … The way we are situated makes it a little bit different.” 

The University laid off Reynolds in January and were unable to comment on the reasoning behind her departure. Reynolds was the fourth cheer and dance coach the team had in the past four years.

“The best word I could use to describe it is just unfortunate for everybody involved,” Reynolds said. “We’ve had our challenges over the last year. … But I would say over the last couple of weeks, it just kind of escalated very quickly.” 

Some of the challenges stem from the fact that the cheer and dance team exists in a gray area between a student club and an athletic team. It’s not a student club, which is fully student-run and doesn’t receive economic support. However, it’s not a varsity team either. According to Trevino, the cheer and dance team is more of an organization that enhances the mission of the University. 

Existing in this gray area means that the cheer and dance team are self-sufficient in many ways. In the fall, the team raised $7,000 to get new uniforms and were working with the athletic department to get new mats for routines. 

Under the guidance of Reynolds, the team also implemented a training program similar to other varsity teams at Chatham. 

“We have practice three times a week, lifts twice a week and then we have games,” said Addison Mangieri ‘24, a co-captain on the cheer team. “We have several ‘ex’ athletes from five varsity sports. You must have a high level of athleticism to be good at it.” 

“They all were eager, they were all dedicated, they were all a family,” Reynolds said. “There’s over 30 in the program and including guys as well.”

Despite the challenges that it’s faced, the team hopes to finish out the semester strong, encouraged by the support it has felt from the student body. It will continue performing at basketball games and hopes to travel with the team to playoffs games.

“We’re doing a cheer and dance collaboration for the next few games,” said Jillian Morrow ‘25. “We hope that it shows our unity as a team that, despite our coach being let go, we’re still pushing forward.” 

When asked about the future of the cheer and dance team, Trevino said that he’d like to see it continue. “We want to have a future for our cheerleading team.” 

The team has been told that there are plans to hire a new coach in the future and that they would be involved in the hiring process. While the captains are optimistic about the future of the team, they believe it would be difficult to fill Coach Reynold’s shoes. 

This story has been updated and corrected as the University was unable to comment on the departure of Jasmine Reynolds.

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About the Contributor
Riley Hurst-Brubaker, Media Editor, Video
Riley Hurst-Brubaker ‘24 has been a part of the Communiqué staff since 2021 and currently holds the position of Video Editor. Originally from central Pennsylvania, Riley came to Chatham University to experience life in Pittsburgh. She chose to pursue a degree in communications, following the journalism track, after taking the Communiqué newsroom class and attending several meetings. When she’s not creating content for the Communiqué, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading anything that’s not required for a class and drinking more caffeine than is recommended by friends and health professionals. 

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