A cheerleader flew through the air, having just performed a one legged pose atop her three supporting teammates. Dangerously high, the stunt was imperfect, causing the airborne athlete to fall away from her teammates.
Springfield College’s Isabel Nodiff was one of the bases to her team’s stunt. Throwing herself under the flyer, Nodiff was knocked to the ground. She had protected her teammate and suffered a concussion in return.
“If she had fallen all the way to the ground, she would have gotten way more injured than me,” Nodiff said. She had been trained to put her teammates before herself. If anyone dropped their flyer during practice, they were to run for the rest of the day.
The incident happened back in high school. Today, Nodiff is healthy and acts as the Co-Captain of Springfield College’s Cheerleading team as a freshman.
Risk at the college level is no less present than in high school. Stunts are more advanced and Nodiff has to be as strong a base to her team as ever before. It’s her job to make sure the flyer doesn’t hit the ground, and she has proven that she will risk her own safety to do just that.
“That’s what I like about cheerleading,” She said. “In college the moves are more advanced, and it’s more fun to learn a new stunt.”
A sport this dangerous requires a tight knit group of friends that can put total trust into one another.
“You kind of have to be close in cheerleading because you have to rely on your teammates when you’re going through the air,” Nodiff said.
The team is made up of 15 Springfield College women who have had prior experience in the sport. To join, each had to learn a cheer, a dance, and showcase their own stunts.
Through the process, all of the members have become close friends.
“They were my first friends since I moved in on day one,” Nodiff said. “The older girls are our mentors and we look up to them.”
Major cheering events include football games, as well as men and women’s basketball games. Currently the cheerleading team is out of season and is preparing for next year.
Nodiff and her co captains, Samantha Adams and Megan Lira plan to reinvent the team next season. Their hope is to get more women involved, participate in competitions, and learn new cheers.
There are over 100 traditional cheers that are considered ancient and sacred to Springfield College history. It is not unusual for Alumni to come to games and cheer along.
The team is student run, so captains are in charge of a coordinating fundraisers and marketing for seasons to come.
Next up is planning to attend a cheer camp to improve their routines. The women will also be recruiting new members at SOAR this summer.
The goal for future seasons is to have a team that travels for cheer competitions and a team that stays home for football and basketball games.