Viking Views Spring/Summer 2018



t was a historic year for the Missouri Valley College cheerleading program. In addition to the Heart of America Athletic Conference and NAIA Southeast Region championships, the Vikings captured the program’s third National title. The cheer team outscored all teams with its final round performance at the 2018 NAIA Competitive Cheer National Championship to overcome a deficit and edge out Oklahoma City University to earn the National title. The team’s performance at the National event featured many elements that are pivotal to success at cheer competitions. Head Coach Victoria Cox and Assistant Coach Gavin Runkel always work to create a performance that will maximize the team’s scoring potential and showcase their strengths. While the cheer program has been one of the most successful programs at Valley, its move into NAIA championship competition three years ago has brought a new spotlight to the sport. For her work during the 2017-18 competition season, Cox was named the NAIA Cheer Coach of the Year. To better understand cheer and what it takes to run a successful program, Coach Cox took the time to discuss the many aspects of the sport. How do you create/develop a routine for your team? I like to think that I am at least somewhat self-aware considering

my strengths and weaknesses. I view technique and skill development as two of my strengths, while I see choreography as one my weaknesses as a coach. I want my team to have the best chance of being as successful as possible, so I hire a professional choreographer to design the routine. This year we decided to combine the talents of two masterminds, Nikki Arroyo and Issac Klausmeyer. With the creativity of the two, we were able to go out with an elite routine to compete with the very best in the NAIA, and that obviously paid off! Typically, a choreographer will give you the "bones" of the routine to music counts, and then as a coach you must decide where to make changes to the routine after the choreographer leaves. If your athletes are struggling with a skill or section of the routine, you will need to make it easier in that section prior to a competition. This also gives you the freedom to make the routine more challenging if the athletes have mastered all of the skills and need to increase their challenge on the mat. Our team was already pushing the limits in our stunt sequences, but we were able to increase the difficulty in our baskets and pyramids throughout the season. How long does it take to develop a routine? We go back and forth with our choreographers months in advance. I am a fan of excel and google sheets, so I will always create spreadsheets of all the athletes and their skills. The choreographer

20 Viking Views | Spring/Summer 2018

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