Lehigh cheerleaders perform a stunt during a football game at Goodman Stadium. Senior members of the cheer and dance teams reflected positively as they look back on their experiences with their teams.(Courtesy of Sandy Gotwalt)

Cheer and dance seniors reminisce on their team experiences

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Several seniors on the Lehigh dance and cheerleading teams recalled their favorite memories, greatest accomplishments and largest obstacles while pursuing their love for the sport as they prepare for graduation.

Dominique Voitek, ‘20, and Maddy Horn, ‘20, both started cheerleading at a young age and decided to continue cheering through college.

Voitek said her mother was a cheerleader growing up. After hearing about her mother’s experiences as a cheerleader, Voitek was inspired to try the sport in fourth grade. 

“I really loved being on a team and being a part of such a unique atmosphere,” Voitek said. “Cheer has been such an enjoyable outlet for me. I really enjoy that aspect of school spirit.”

Horn said she tried cheerleading as a kindergartener and stuck with the sport ever since.

Horn said, once she found out Lehigh had a cheerleading team, she thought she would continue cheering in college.

“We are all so supportive of each other, and big moments like Le-Laf really remind me how exciting it is to be a part of the team,” Horn said.

Phoebe Lindo, ‘20, joined the cheer team this past season after seeing how much her friends on the team enjoyed the positive atmosphere and loving community they were a part of. 

“I wasn’t on any cheer teams prior to being on Lehigh’s (team),” Lindo said. “In high school, I tried out for my varsity cheer team, and I did make it, but the commitment was too big for me.”

Being on the Lehigh cheerleading team requires a lot of practice and teamwork, all in preparation for a successful and organized routine.

Voitek said the team only practices twice a week, and they can only practice stunts when their coach is present, so they have to make the most of their four hours a week to practice new stunts.

“We really have to take advantage of our time,” Voitek said. “It takes a few weeks to really perfect stunts, (and) everyone matters. If we have one or two people missing from practice because they are sick, it can kind of throw us off. Some of us do gymnastics on our own, though, and we have done lifting groups to work out together.”

The three senior cheerleaders all shared a common admiration for Lehigh alumni and for their team members, much like the dancers. 

Rachel Hamburger, ’20, said she has a love for the dance team and the audience they performed for.

“I loved dancing with such kind people who were always there to lift one another up and remind each other how much talent we carried both individually and as a group,” Hamburger said.

Hamburger said she loves looking back and reminiscing on all of the team’s accomplishments.

She said out of any event that the team performed in, getting the opportunity to perform at Dance Fest tops her list.

“It was amazing to work hard for such a cool and diverse showcase of talent and to be supported by so many members of the Lehigh community,” Hamburger said.

Hamburger said being on the dance team required teamwork as well, which both the cheer and dance teams require to pull off a successful final routine or dance. 

Hamburger said devoting full attention during practice was essential to staying on task.

“We practice three times a week for two hours each,” Hamburger said. “A few of the girls did their own individual workouts as well, but it was most important for us to all attend practice together and work hard together as a group.”

Some of the team members’ fondest memories from their seasons include the Lehigh-Lafayette football games and large dance recitals in front of Lehigh students, alumni and other community members.

Many of the seniors look forward to seeing their groups thrive next year with new members as they continue to cheer and dance at Lehigh.

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