May 1, 2013
Each week, AuburnTigers.com will take a look at a different personality from Auburn Athletics. This blog will take a look at the various perspectives of student-athletes, coaches and administrators. In this entry, director of community relations and spirit squad coordinator Latisha Durroh takes readers through the annual Auburn cheerleader tryouts. Enjoy her insights and join us again for another edition next week.
By Latisha Durroh
We have a new group of Auburn University cheerleaders, though it is hard for me to believe another year has ended. Our tryouts are a three-day process that were held April 14-16. Only 20 Auburn University students were selected, since Shelton Godwin, our new head cheerleader, was selected through a separate interview and application process on April 7.
Auburn cheerleading tryouts are open to currently enrolled full-time Auburn University students and what they sign up for is so much more than what everyone sees on Saturdays at our Auburn football games.
The first day of tryouts was a great success! We were really excited since this was the first year tryouts were held in the Auburn Arena. We had 37 girls and 18 guys; 13 guys tried out for cheerleader and five tried out for mic-man. The first day of tryouts is always our walk-through day, sort of a mock tryout, to show them exactly where we will be and how tryouts will run after our mandatory meeting. During our meeting we go through our rules and expectations for those who make the squad.
We also stress the time commitment involved if they make the squad. One of our mottos is that "Auburn cheerleading must come second only to school." We stress that numerous times, so they clearly understand the sacrifices they will have to make if they are selected.
Everyone is always so excited after our meeting is over, because they draw for their stunting partner on that first day. It is a completely random process where the guys and girls each draw numbers and match up with their counterpart. There are always more girls than guys, so the guys all have two or three partners each.
The second day of tryouts is our technical skills day. The candidates do two cheers, a dance to an Auburn band song, partner stunts and tumbling in front of our panel of judges. The judges for the technical skills are an expert cheerleading panel. This year's panel all cheered collegiately at Division I schools as well. We had one former UCA staffer who cheered collegiately and was a head UCA instructor for five years. We also had a former SEC cheerleader and two former AU cheerleaders, who both cheered for AU for three years, but never cheered here together.
After we make the first cut, we sit down with those remaining to talk about the interview process that will take place the next day. That third day consists entirely of interviews culminating in callouts that night at the historic back steps of Katherine Cooper Cater Hall where the new squad takes their first of many group pictures with our friend, Aubie the Tiger.
The interviews are to gauge each potential member's commitment level, knowledge of Auburn, reasons for wanting to be a part of the squad and their love for Auburn. The interview panel of judges consisted of a staff member from the athletics department, two former Auburn cheerleaders - one of whom was head cheerleader, the SGA President and an Auburn employee usually from student affairs or alumni affairs.
Each year proves to be just as exciting and memorable for each member, whether it is their third year or first year. A lot of what we do is very glamorous, but that can be misleading since not everything is glamorous and most people don't see the hard work we put in the entire year to make sure we are ready for Saturdays.
In addition to Auburn football, we cheer at men's and women's basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and the girls assist our sports marketing department at soccer and swimming and diving. On average, the squad does about four or five appearances in the community each week, outside of our Auburn Athletics sporting events, as well. Some of those events, include family fun nights, reading at local schools, pep rallies, events held through SGA and the Auburn Alumni Association, and the list goes on.
I believe the most important aspect of being an Auburn cheerleader is a love for Auburn and not just for Auburn football.
We are excited about our new squad this year and can't wait to start our year together. Here they are:
Chris Adams, Birmingham, Ala.; First Year
Ben Baber, Crestview, Fla.; Third Year
Josh Carnley, Fairhope, Ala.; Second Year
Evans Carr, Birmingham, Ala.; Second Year
Carly Chambliss, Auburn, Ala.; First Year
Carrie Ann Cochran, Birmingham, Ala.; First Year
Benjamin Dow, Birmingham, Ala.; First Year
Mary Grace Downs, Dothan, Ala.; Third Year
Shelton Godwin, Decatur, Ala.; Head Cheerleader, Third Year
Francie Harris, Vestavia Hills, Ala.; Second Year
Amy Henderson, Oxford, Ala.; Third Year
Rashaun Hoskey, Eufaula, Ala.; First Year
Charles Jacobs, Arab, Ala.; Second Year
Catherine Jordan, Birmingham, Ala.; First Year
Will Mahone, Midland City, Ala.; First Year
Margaret Manifold, Auburn, Ala.; First Year
Justin Melnick, Windermere, Fla.; Mic-Man, First Year
Remington Moore, Decatur, Ala.; First Year
Spencer Owen, Wetumpka, Ala.; Second Year
Katy South, Florence, Ala.; Third Year
Jessy Tucker, Montgomery, Ala.; First Year