Athlete of the Week Archive

Dec. 17, 2007

LARAMIE, Wyo. -



Sarah McCance


How long have you been a cheerleader and did you choose to attend UW specifically to cheer?
"I cheered for all three years of high school and now I'm in my third year on the spirit squad here. That was one of the biggest reasons I came here, I could cheer and get a really good education. I was really glad I could do both."

What is your major and what do you hope to use your degree for?
"Marketing, with a minor in finance. I really would like to get into sports marketing, something with the athletics industry."

What does a typical day as a UW cheerleader look like?
"Several times a week we have weight-lifting in the morning as a group for an hour and then we go to class for the day. Then we almost always have a two-hour practice every night. Once a week we have gymnastics for an additional hour after practice. In addition, we have to attend games, fundraisers and various other UW events. It can be pretty hectic on any given day."

In a full year or cheerleading season, can you guess how many events you have to attend and cheer at?
"Well, I know that there are six home football games and at least sixteen home basketball games each year. Keep in mind that this is just my squad and that the other spirit squads cover other events. This year we have been at about five volleyball games and maybe two or three soccer games. We attend the MWC Basketball Tournament and other close road games if we have the money to travel, like the Wyoming Shootout in Casper. There are probably about 15-20 promotional events each year, like the Cowboy Joe Club auction. Our season is basically nine months long. We also work CJC golf tournaments in the summer to earn money and have various other fundraisers, like car washes. It's quite a few appearances and commitments that we have to be at."

In addition to your schooling that sounds like a busy schedule. Is it difficult to maintain that work load?
"Yeah, there are times when you just want to stay at home and not have to do anything, but I'm kind of used to it. I'm used to always having something going on, so it doesn't stretch me too thin. It does get crazy though, especially on days like football home games where it can be an all-day deal."

When you do have free time what do you do?
"I have a part-time job and then on top of that I just try and spend time with my friends. My family comes to every game, so I also try to spend a little extra time with them if I can."

What kind of academic standards do the spirit squads have to meet?
"We have the same minimum requirements as all of the other UW athletes, but our scholarships are a little different and are actually based on our academic results. The higher our grades, the more scholarship money we are eligible for per semester. Kind of an incentive to stick with the program and to do well in school."

What does it mean that you are captain of your squad? Are you at the top of every pyramid?
"Ha, no, I'm not at the top of every pyramid. My partner is the men's captain and we just work together. I make the calls and he is the loud voice that announces everything. I'm in charge of making sure everyone is there on time, signing people up for events and wearing the same uniform. Basically just making sure everyone is on the same page."

If you had to guess where UW Cheer would rank among the nine MWC schools, where would you rank yourself?
"If we had our full team, without injuries and other circumstances, I would probably put us around third. BYU and Air Force have really strong programs and have a lot of people that want to cheer there. It's very competitive. We are building in that direction, have a good skill level, good coaches and have had more people interested than when I was a freshman. Hopefully, as we improve as a program we can compete at national competitions."

Do you enjoy traveling with the UW teams when you can?
"Yeah, definitely. It's fun to see the different schools and their traditions, as compared to ours. The MWC Basketball Tournament is always a blast and a fun atmosphere. It's less stressful because when you do have games, you split time with the other team's squads, so there is less to do."

What has been the most memorable thing since you've been a cheerleader at UW?
"Probably the thing I enjoy most is working the CJC auction every year in Cheyenne. It's just so great to see tons of people coming out and supporting UW. I know that everyone there has a really good time. Another great event was the Virginia football game this year, Sell-Out Saturday. Cheering in front of that many people was phenomenal. It's a feeling you can't really describe. The atmosphere was intense and everyone was pumped up and ready to be here. Another great memory was when I was a freshman and our men's basketball team went to the MWC Tournament finals. That was really fun too."

Is there one aspect of cheering that is particularly hard for you?
"I'd have to say the tumbling, even though I've done it for a long time. It's a really big mental game you play with yourself. You are singled out, everyone is watching and it's just you, no partner or teammate."

If you could choose one restaurant to open up in Laramie, what would it be?
"I think it would probably be something like an Olive Garden. That is one of my favorites."

Since you are from Cheyenne, if you had to pick one musical act to watch during Frontier Days, who would it be?
"I like tons of different music, but I would maybe pick Dave Matthews Band, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, or rappers like T-Pain or Timbaland. I just really like different types of music, so it really doesn't matter what genre."