Competitive cheer and dance teams debut as newest varsity sports
Point Park University has two new varsity sports teams. And they're ones that many alumni will be excited to see gain varsity status.
The history of Point Park cheerleading dates back to the 1960s with the Varsity Club. Involvement as a Point Park cheerleader has been a source of pride for many alumni through the years.
Many recall the days of cheering coach Jerry Conboy and the Point Park basketball team, leading Black Diamond the Bison and generating an overall great sense of school spirit.
Since those early days of the 1970s, Point Park has had a cheerleading team at various points in time, including the last five years when it operated as a club organization.
Now, what was once a club has been elevated to varsity status. The competitive cheer and dance teams will operate under the athletic department, compete in the NAIA, and award scholarships to its student-athletes.
Herold is Head Coach
The first step was to hire a head coach to lead the programs. Bettina Herold, who coached the team the last five years as a club organization, was hired in February and began to lay the foundation of the team.
"Our program is focused on developing our student-athletes with the elite skills of competitive cheerleading and dance with an emphasis on participation, teamwork, safety and responsibility," said Herold, who has a background as a University of Pittsburgh dancer and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) cheerleader.
"Our goal is to represent the Point Park community in an exceptional manner at all competitions and performances."
Cheer and Dance Competitions
The competitive cheer and dance teams will participate in cheer and dance competitions representing Point Park as an intercollegiate sports team. The ultimate goal is to qualify for and compete at the NAIA Competitive Cheer and Dance National Championship, which is held in the spring of every year.
Qualification to nationals involves advancing through regional competitions throughout the country. The cheer and dance teams will play a full schedule of competitions preparing for regionals.
The other aspect of the competitive cheer and dance teams is spirit based. In addition to their competitions, the teams will be involved in cheering and dancing at Point Park athletics games and special events to promote school spirit.
Overall, this is great news for the school, the athletic department and the student-athletes who will experience being part of the teams.
Inspiring Student Athletes
"My philosophy as the head coach of Point Park cheer and dance is to inspire my team to be the best, well-rounded student athletes that they can be," said Herold. "I focus on enhancing each student-athletes' experience by teaching physical and interpersonal skills that they can apply to their personal, work and school endeavors.
"Our program is built on a solid foundation that will provide student-athletes with direction and inspiration to become exceptional leaders and ambassadors of the Point Park community."
The news of the cheer club organization reaching varsity status was met with excitement by the current team members. Many have signed on as varsity student-athletes and gone through the eligibility requirements of the NAIA.
Point Park competitive cheer and dance is currently seeking prospective student-athletes to join the teams. Those interested should visit Point Park Athletics and complete the Prospective Athlete Questionnaire.
Text by Kevin Taylor
Photo by Sam Robinson
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University.