UWO Cheer team wins state championship


Courtesy of UWO Today — The UWO cheer team celebrates after winning the state championship.

Anya Kelley, News Editor

UW Oshkosh’s competitive cheer team brought home their fifth state championship last month, making them the first UW System school to complete this feat. 

UWO cheer team ranked number one out of three teams in the “college all girl” division. Their direct competitors were UW Madison Comp Cheer and UW Whitewater. 

Their season runs from September through the state competition in February. Athletes spend most of their nights practicing stunts and skills getting ready for the final performance. 

Jennifer Verbockel, the cheer and stunt sports club president, said she is extremely grateful for all of the hard work and perseverance the team put forward this season.

“As a sports club, there are many obstacles we experience as being run by students,” said Verbockel. “We have fewer resources than other teams and in spite of that, our students put in extra work to be successful.”

Verbockel said everyone on the team, including the executive board, contributes something important to the success of each season. 

Brooke Witek, the vice president of the cheer and stunt sports club, has been on the team for five years. 

“The athletes a part of this program have always strived to be the best. Jennifer and I worked extra hard this year, perfecting our routine,” Witek said. “We put in long hours going over score sheets and possible skills for our team to learn. Our success this year would not be possible without the dedication of each athlete.”

Olivia Davel, a UWO sophomore, is on her second season on the UWO cheer team and her fourth season competing in cheer overall. 

Davel said preparing for state is stressful for the whole team. Between injuries and class, the girls worked hard to stay unified and persistent through the struggles, she said. 

“UWO succeeds so much at state because we are always down for trying newer and harder stunts or pyramids and because of the people we appoint on the executive board,” Davel said. “The president and vice president, Jennifer Verbockle and Brooke Witek, volunteer so much of their time to review score sheets so that we work toward maxing out the difficulty of our routines.”

Though Davel has been competing for four years, she said she still often wonders how she will successfully perform in front of the crowd.

“All of the emotions that were going on just behind the floor before we competed are hard to explain,” Davel said. “This was the last performance for two of our seniors, so there were definitely some tears.”

Davel believes the next session will bring a sixth win for UWO’s cheer team and she’s hopeful there will be a national championship in the next few sessions. 

“This past year we received the highest score UWO has ever gotten at nationals, and that showed us that we have a chance of continually improving our routine, not only to hold the state champion title, but also to rise on the UCA national rankings,” Davel said.

Verbockel will be the first president continuing the position for a third consecutive year as she was awarded the position as a sophomore. 

“The president is in charge of the large majority of administrative duties, choreography and leading the team throughout the season, so they are able to provide the strongest impact on the team,” she said.

Verbockel is hoping to continue state champion status throughout the upcoming seasons. 

I look forward to all of the other improvements I can make before I graduate in 2025,” Verbockel said.