Today we are interviewing Mary Spilski, the new Head Coach of Eastern Michigan Cheerleaders. We have had the pleasure of working with Mary the past few years when we have photographed the Wyoming Spirit Squad. She was the assistant coach and she was also the director of the Junior Cowgirls Cheerleaders at Wyoming. Below are the questions and answers from Mary.
1. Give us some of your cheer background and how you got started in cheer.
I cheered throughout high school and loved it! However, some knee injuries sidelined me and kept me from cheering on my Cowboys at UW. Because I love the sport so much and am so passionate about it I started coaching while in college and have worked at the high school, junior college, and Division 1 levels.
2. Tell us a little about how tryouts went this year and a little bit about your new team.
Tryouts were fabulous this year! I was a little rusty since we have been recruiting and have not had tryouts in a couple years. The team is great! I am super excited. Everyone has a tuck (at least) and we are really working towards a new EMU Spirit. I am so excited for the year to start. There are 17 returners and that is huge for rebuilding a program!
3. What are some goals you will set for your squad?
Some goals we have for the squad are basically to be the best in the MAC. So that comes down to a whole lot of hard work, pushing ourselves with stunting and tumbling, and on my end, working towards an organized, clean, professional program.
4. In your time so far, have you learned about any traditions for Eastern Michigan?
I have only spent a few days at EMU and have learned quite a bit! They hold huge pep rallys on the Lake on Campus. It is beautiful and draws huge crowds; this is something I am looking forward to!
5. What all events can fans of Eastern Michigan see your team cheering at?
At Eastern Michigan University the cheerleaders perform/cheer at every home football game as well as volleyball and men's and women' basketball. Because the schools in the conference are all pretty close we will be doing a lot of traveling to football games this season!
6. Does Eastern Michigan currently have a Junior Cheerleaders program? If not, do you plan on maybe looking into having one in the future?
Junior Cowgirls Cheerleading was my baby at UW. That program was started from scratch and was hugely successful (thanks to the wonderful community). It is something I am sad to leave behind. EMU does not currently have a program similar to this, however, I will definitely look to start one in the coming years! I might have more competition because the area is saturated with all start gyms. But it will be worth the time and effort!
7. In your time of visiting Ypsilanti, MI so far, how does it compare to Laramie, WY?
Ypsilanti is soooo different than Laramie, WY, yet there are some similarities. They are both smaller towns with an absolute college feel! However, Ypsilanti is about 3 miles from Ann Arbor which is a much bigger city. Also there are trees and water everywhere! We are about 45 minutes from Lake Erie and about 45 miles from Detroit. There is a dense population which is very different from Wyoming, where I have lived my entire life so far. No wide open spaces out there! But we plan to buy a boat and put it to good use.
8. How you found a favorite restaurant in Ypsilanti?
Not yet! But they have a ton to choose from. A lot of little places downtown and in Depot town which we will try once we get there! There is Red Rock which is a BBQ place we ate at that was super yummy!
9. What is one of your favorite memories about your time at the University of Wyoming?
My favorite memories are the girls and guys I worked with. My heart hurts when I think about leaving them. They gave me so many valuable lessons and wonderful memories and I hope they got something out of me. I am going to miss those crazy kids so very much! Too many memories and funny stories to write down.
10. While at Wyoming, you worked with a lot of youth cheerleaders, what do you say to parents who are thinking about possibly having their son or daughter do cheerleading as a sport?
The thing I would say to those parents is that cheerleading is a commitment. It gets inside you and once you start it is hard to let go of. It is a lot of hard work and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears, but it is nothing short of character building! Small children learn confidence, team work, and motor skills that will help them throughout their lives. I would encourage everyone to give it a shot!
Congratulations to Mary and we look forward to catching up with her this fall to see how her and her team is doing!
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