Victoria University's new cheerleading squad, the VU Vipers, will compete in their first competition this weekend as part of the Australian Showdown Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.
The Vipers came together only last year, riding high on the wave of cheerleading made popular in Australia by American culture icons High School Musical, Bring it On and Glee.
The 21-member squad is made up of VU students from various disciplines, including engineering, sport, exercise science, teaching and creative arts. Using a combination of dance choreography, jumps, gymnastics and stunts, cheerleading is an intense physical activity, now recognised as a competitive sport.
The Vipers are the brainchild of second-year Bachelor of Applied Science student and Vipers' coach, Natalie Commons, 24 of Moorabbin, who teaches cheerleading to young children, and second-year Bachelor of Exercise and Human Movement/Bachelor of Psychology student and Vipers' captain, Emily Cheung.
"I've done dance, but there is nothing like cheerleading to push you to the max, mentally and physically," Natalie said. "You get an amazing feeling from the positive energy and teamwork."
One of the most inspiring members in the squad is 21-year-old Roya Abdolhosini, a one-legged student in her third year of architectural engineering.
Roya was born missing a left leg, but that has not stopped her from pursuing her interests in circus arts, gymnastics, and now cheerleading.
"Life is too short to worry about anything except making the most of it," said the Blackburn resident, who participates fully in the squad's stunts, lifts and dance routines.
Natalie said having Roya in the squad pushes the others to work extra hard.
"It's amazing what she is able to accomplish, but in the end, we treat her just like the rest of us and she's just part of the team."
The Vipers will have a Come-and-Try Day for all VU students on Wednesday 11 August from 12pm-1pm at Footscray Park Campus, Bldg L- Level 4.
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer
Marketing and Communications Department
Ph: (03) 9919 5487 or Mobile: 0403 556 001.