Coming from a year of upsets and accomplishments, the DLSU Animo Squad will be put to the test once again.
A new system that uses an organizational chart will be introduced to attain the team’s short and long-term goals.
Departure of the veterans and conflict of class schedules are two of the many challenges the squad has to face in lieu of the upcoming UAAP Cheerdance Competition (CDC).
Hampered by injuries
The physical toll from intense training has affected some of the squad members, causing them to suffer multiple hand and leg injuries.
As a result, the FilOil defending champions performed with a mix of injured holdovers and energetic rookies.
“Pressure is on the squad because we are the defending Champions of the FilOil Cheerleading Competition, but what is really important for this competition is the experience, especially for the newbies,” head cheerleader Paolo Lucero quipped.
The squad slipped to fourth place, surrendering the title to Perpetual Altas Cheerleading Elite Squad, with the Arellano Dancing Chief and Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion finishing second and third accordingly.
“After placing 4th, we all realized that we have to train harder for UAAP CDC,” Animo Squad Head Cheer Coach Ruf Rosario said.
Former head cheerdancer, Harby Mauricio, shared that the team, after placing bridesmaids after eventual champion, University of the Philippines, in the recent UAAP Cheerdance Competition, decided to tighten the screening process of potential rookies.
“Right now, we’re trying to get the best of the best because we won the UAAP cheerdance competition. Our main goal is to place again, and to be in the top three,” Mauricio reiterated.
Head Coach Rosario introduced a new coaching method to the developing squad; he has created new drills and stunts during the preseason.
The squad has also tapped the services of conditioning Coach Andrew Maravillas. He has developed new drills and warm-ups, which will be crucial to the development of the members.
Practice sessions are focused on gymnastics, flexibility, tosses, and team tumbling, which the team has been weak at in past competitions.
The Animo Squad remains optimistic that the squad would score a major upset in the next UAAP Cheerdance Competition.
Veteran cheerdancer Maja Reyes considers the recent 2nd place finish a humbling experience, since the team learned from shortcomings; the team wants to perform better in the following competitions.
As the new captain of the squad, Natasha Mendoza wants a tougher and a better squad. She promises that the team will focus on improving the rookies, and training them to perform at par with the holdovers of the squad.
Mendoza shared, “You can expect me to push the team a lot harder this year. As their captain, I want to challenge them to become better so that they could achieve more than what is expected from them.”
“Having a new line up with rookies is really hard for me and the staff but I can see in their hearts that they will not let their place to be lost,” Coach Rosario claimed.