Cheerleaders high on money pyramid

Olivia Hutchinson, Sports Editor

Pitt-Johnstown cheerleaders not only receive the third highest allocation of any on-campus club, they raise the most as well.

According to squad president Erica Wiley, the cheerleaders are able to raise $30,000 annually.  The squad is allocated $29,000.

“We work really hard at fundraising. Our biggest fundraiser is the competition we hold at the Sports Center. We raise up to $10,000 just from holding this competition,” said Wiley.

The competition allows squads, including elementary school, junior high and high school cheerleaders to compete against each other and prepare for their own competitions.

All-star cheerleaders also come to compete.

In addition to a competition fundraiser the team hosts, senior Shannon Deely said they are able to raise money from their annual spirit sale.

“We design and sell T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants that feature our UPJ cheer logo. The competition and the spirit sale are the biggest fundraisers we do every year, without question.”

The squad uses the money fundraised to pay for the National Cheerleading Association Collegiate Competition they enter every year.

Senior Natalie Aikens said the squad puts a great deal of effort into fundraising because their organization requires a lot of money to be successful.

“The money we fundraise goes toward our trip to Florida, which includes extra airfare costs, practice clothing as well as spirit signs and flags.”

Deely said the money goes to other expenses as well.

“The main goal is money for Florida, however, we fundraise to cover other expenses too, such as uniforms, choreography and music.”

Wiley said in previous years, the squad raised all the money they needed on their own.

“Starting two years ago, the school began allocating us money because they realized how much we fundraise. Our fundraising would go to our bills for nationals including hotel (and bus costs).

“Since the school began giving us money, we don’t have to fundraise quite as much, but we don’t let that stop us from continuing all of the fundraising we do in order to help the school as much as possible,” said Wiley.

In previous years, the squad was able to take all of the members to Florida.

This year, however, with 35 members, not everyone will be able to go – although anyone on the squad is eligible to cheer at games and other functions, Wiley said.

“Unfortunately we can’t take everyone. We will be taking about 28 girls with us to Florida; 20 girls will compete, and then that will give us some extra girls in case someone gets hurt.

“It’s important to have alternates ready to compete because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Wiley said this year, the team hopes to improve on their previous fifth place finish.

“We were hoping for better results last year, but ended up not making it to finals. This year, we only lost one senior and gained 30 talented freshmen. So we’re hoping to work hard and make the top three.”

This year the championship is to be held April 12-14 at the Ocean Center in Daytona, Fla.

The squad also cheers on campus allowing all members an opportunity to cheer.

Wiley said the team splits into two different squads to cover all the games.

“We cheer for wrestling and men’s and women’s basketball. The games start in November and can last until March, so we split into two squads because with all the games, cheer practice and community service, along with fundraising, it can get pretty busy.

“The girls need to have time to finish their school work as well.”