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Lionettes and cheerleading team start new season

By Jonathan Rhodes
On May 9, 2017

Lindy Lerille participates in a tryout for the Lionettes and cheerleading team with Shaun Lowe as the 2017-18 season arrives for the team. Alumni members of the team returned to help perform  routines.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion’s Roar

The university cheerleaders and Lionettes are ready to start the 2017-2018 season after having tryouts for new members and team members from last season.

Spirit Coordinator Paige Lapeyrouse Hall, articulated the importance of the spirit group to athletics.

“It’s a huge responsibility,” said Hall. “We do Hot August Nights, we do Strawberry Jam, anything with athletics. I get calls all the time for cheer and dance and Roomie to make appearances at high schools and middle schools. They are definitely out and about. They definitely are the face of athletics.”

Being on the cheerleading and Lionettes team is similar to a job, a lot is expected from the team members.

“All of cheer and dance is on scholarships,” said Hall. “So, I treat this like their job. They are getting paid. They’re on scholarship. It’s not a full scholarship, but it’s a stipend. From day one, once the team is selected, they will sign a policy and procedure that is basically their contract. They commit from May 6 to tryouts of next season.”

Lindy Lerille, a senior in high school, tried out for Louisiana State University and University of Louisiana Lafayette before coming to the university to try out for the team. She could immediately see what made the cheerleading team special.

“More people talk to you,” said Lerille. “At other schools, you try to talk to people and they would just ignore you. Here, people are a lot more friendly. I like that it’s a smaller school compared to huge universities. I’m really excited to meet new people because no one from my school is coming here.” 

Returning cheerleaders and Lionettes have to try out every season until they graduate. No one on either team retains their spot from season to season. They must earn it.

“My first year I was a mess, but now I’m good,” said Lionette Bailey Boudreaux, a junior kinesiology major. “There is always a little bit of stress where you think, ‘What if I’m not coming back?’”

The veteran members like to see the program progress and see new faces added to the roster. Senior health education major Shaun Lowe is in his fifth year on the cheerleading squad and enjoys helping out the new members of the team.

“Over the years, we have had more talented people who can do tumbling,” said Lowe. “I think it’s fun seeing the new team and being able to help them become better, so as I leave, they will be good and they can keep the program progressing forward.”

Much like other student athletes, the cheerleaders and Lionettes have to keep their grades up and do well academically. They also have to be very organized.

Cheerleading Head Coach Catherine Messenger was formerly on the cheer team and is entering her third year as the head coach and knows what the cheerleaders have to go through each semester.

“They have schoolwork and they have jobs,” said Messenger. “With cheer three days a week and football games on Saturdays, they stay busy.”

Former alumni return for tryouts every year to help the new members learn the ropes.

“I love, as an alum, sitting here at tryouts wishing I was trying out again. It’s kind of surreal to be able to have this opportunity,” said Cierra Heckmann, who danced with the Lionettes. “Every year, the alums who recently finish their last year come back and help her out ‘cause it’s more than a one-man job. So, we just help the girls with their nerves.”

Former alum David Mayeux will be joining the cheerleading team as the skills coach this season. Mayeux is looking forward to helping the cheerleading team do what they do best.

“Our atmosphere is more on the sideline,” said Mayeux. “So, we don’t have the spotlight that most of the student athletes do. A lot of times with recruitment or with leaders on campus, the cheerleaders kind of step up and become ambassadors of the university. Raising school spirit within our student population, being able to support our athletic programs and, of course, when it comes to going out to the community, we want to make sure that they are portraying Southeastern the best way that it can.”

The cheerleading team and the Lionettes will be practicing during summer before they go to Texas in July for cheerleading camp.

The 2017-18 Lionettes dance team from top left, Raegyn Bouza,Kylie Ballard, Kyleigh Lane, Alexis Duplessis, Ally Serigne, Abigail Collins, Zyria Guillory, middle row, Emma Boyd, Emily Leeper, Madelyn Miley, Bailey Kelly, Breigh Blouin, Cailin Sampey, bottom row, Bailey Boudreaux, Rejon Alexander, Jordan Gautreau, Carlena Wyatt.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion’s Roar

The 2017-18 Lions cheerleading team from top left, Lindy Lerille, Breanna Clark, Trenee Calamia, Chrissy Waters, Merranda Scopes, holding them up are Darious Robertson, Tyler Hoskins, Andre Lee, Shaun Lowe, Bubby Mathis, third row, Delaney Phillips, Alexis Davison, Laney Lecompte,  Bre Blount, Isabella Payne, Katie Phillips, Lauren Giluso, bottom row, Hearrt Bryan, Alyssa Gordillo, Olivia Nesom, Gabrielle Brown, Molly Braud, Alyssa Chelette.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion’s Roar


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