Cheerleading seeks to reach new heights


Ryan Talley/The Maroon

Senior biophysics major and co-captain Ana LeBlanc stands at the top of a pyramid during their routine at the University Sports Complex on Feb. 4, 2023.

Elle Haavie, Staff Writer

Loyola’s cheer team does “so much more” than their routine appearances at sporting events, said Gabby Kliebert, one of the team’s captains.

The team is in full swing and training hard as they prepare to compete in their competitions. Both captains, Ana LeBlanc and Kliebert said they are optimistic about the upcoming regional qualifier competition Feb. 10 in Mobile, Ala.

“We’re in the gym every single day making ourselves better,” Kliebert said. “We want to go to nationals. We’re hoping that we can get our foot in the door this weekend.”

The team won their first meet of the season on Saturday, Feb. 4 after competing in two dual meets against Dillard University.

Each team performed twice, with Loyola scoring 73.9 and 74.25 out of 100, and Dillard scoring 63.35 and 66.25. According to Wolf Pack Athletics, Loyola’s choreography was also rated by judges on a scale of 1 to 10, and they received a score of 8 and higher in both rounds.

“We do a lot of conditioning work,” said cheer and dance coach Dylon Hoffpauir. “We work out twice a week with Ochsner fitness trainers. We have practice three times a week for three hours a day. They put their bodies through a lot. It’s a lot of discipline and a lot of time.”

The team made it to the National Championships in 2020, but the competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As soon as the team got there, they had to turn around and come back, so this would be our first time competing,” Kliebert said. “This year we get to be concrete in what we want out of the season and make all our dreams come true.”

This year’s championships will be held on March 10 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Hoffpauir and the captains plan to lead the team to victory with positive and confidence-instilling leadership styles.

“We try to come in every single day motivated, and push ourselves to be the best that we can be for everybody else,” Kliebert said. “The work that we put into this is a full year commitment, so we grind hard.”

Hoffpauir said that his goal for the season is to instill as much confidence as he can.

“I want them to feel invincible after this season,” he said. “I’m not thinking about winning or losing, I’m thinking about progressing their mindset. If we can do that, I think this season will go in our favor.”