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UO: A couple minutes with … Katie Underwood

UO: A couple minutes with … Katie Underwood


Cheerleaders: “Workin’ hard, bein’ proud, Thurston fans, yell it loud: C-O-L-T-S “Colts, the best!” My name is Katie Underwood and I’m the development program assistant at the University of Oregon for the School of Journalism and Communication. I coach the junior varsity and freshman teams at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon. We cheer football games, basketball games, and we compete at competitions all during January and February. “Be careful to not .. you started to go that way, so luckily they moved with you.” Our practices are only 90 minutes — we’re a get-in, get-it-done and get-out kind of practice. My husband likes to say that he runs “Chip Kelly style” even though he’s a Beaver fan. I don’t know if you need to edit that out! “Make sure you get that extra foot in there, that will help you get a little more power.” I cheered at North Eugene High School in my junior and senior year. I think cheer taught me the same things that I want my kids to know: Be a good teammate and how to get good grades. I think it’s more physically demanding than most people would think. A lot of our varsity kids hold weight records in the weight room — girls and boys. It turns into quite the cardio workout. They have no idea that when we’re teaching them during the summer — running and exercising and doing all those cardio exercises, we’re really prepping them for what will come later. Two-and-a-half minutes doesn’t seem very long, but when you’re doing it and yelling and stunting and jumping and tumbling and trying to smile at the same time, it can be quite the workout. We really do teach them the skills they need to survive in college and life. We always say that they probably spend more time together than they spend with their family members. They get really frustrated with each other and there’s always times when there can be issues that arise, but we give them the skills that they need and help them work through that.

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