MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - If you can believe it football season is right around the corner.
The Minnesota State University, Mankato Football team is set to play their first game September 7th at Southwest Minnesota State University and their first home game the following weekend against Augustana.
The football team isn’t the only ones preparing for the upcoming contests though, what’s a football game without the cheerleaders getting the crowd on their feet?
“On and off the field our girls are energetic and loud and that never stops and I think that that lends to us pumping up the crowd in more ways than one, we don’t let them sit on their feet, like we will look at you and we will make you feel obligated to stand up and I think that we do a really great job of making people feel included in the game, like we’re out there and they should be just as excited as everyone else,” Isla Ekstam, MSU cheerleader, said.
“I’m an extrovert so I just love talking and doing stuff and entertaining people and it’s just fun to see and being able to get people up and entertained,” Mel Stramm, MSU cheerleader said.
Obviously the cheer team is supporting the football team, but the squad also has goals for themselves.
“I am looking for those elite stunts this year for those full–ups, inversions, those 360 to 2–2–1′s, all of that this year, I’m really looking to push the team to their limits,” Ashley Urevig, MSU head coach, said.
“Skills wise for the team I want us to hit all of our routines all of the time, whether that’s at practice and maybe on the field when we’re performing, giving our all, all of the time, this is the first time I’ve ever been on the team where we haven’t had males so I really want us to come out strong and to prove that we’ve got the power and we’re all girl and we’ve got this,” Ekstam said.
Seasoned members shared that even though this group is serious about what they’re doing on the field, being on the team also gives them the ability to represent the university and to make friends while doing so.
“I’m most excited to get to know a whole new group of girls and to work with girls that I have been working with the last two years. I’m excited to obviously cheer on the football team and hopefully to make it to nationals this year and to just build the relationships that I have been building and keep making the friendships. Really I’m kind of just like a spit fire and I bring a lot of energy to the team so been just excited to work with the girls that way and have them have as much fun as I always do at every practice and every game,” Ekstam said.
“Well my goal is to have really good team effort, I want to get close with my team and just have fun,” Lindsey Grieves, MSU cheerleader said.
As the head coach with no assistants and a baby due any minute now, Ashley appreciates the returning talent helping to lead the team.
“Isla has a lot of football knowledge, she’s able to recognize what cheers to do at what certain times, she’s really approachable so I think she’s going to really do good with those new athletes. Sophie has a lot of cheer knowledge, she came from a competitive background, she’s going to be able to help those new athletes and critique them and kind of show them how we do things,” Urevig said.
And if you ask a cheerleader what their favorite part about game day is you’re sure to get an eager answer like these.
“I like entire game day, from start to finish, I like when the team arrives, we get ready, we’re getting pumped and then when we get out there we’re able to pump up that crowd,” Urevig said.
“Ohh, the energy, like there is nothing that compares to the energy of Blakeslee Stadium on a game day,” Ekstam said.
Whether it’s 95 degrees, pouring rain or a winter blizzard, you can always count on the Maverick cheer team to be out on the sidelines cheering their team on to a victory.
“I just love Maverick football!” Ekstam said.