Coach, UAA Intramural Cheerleading Squad
Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Fun Fact: Tricia cheered and danced professionally for the Chicago Bulls.
Imagine going to a basketball game with no cheerleaders. Strange, right? Tricia Farler agrees. A Midwest transplant, Tricia brings her many years of experience as a personal trainer, coach and professional cheerleader and dancer to her position as coach of UAA’s intramural coed cheerleading squad.
Tricia and her husband are new to Alaska, having just moved north from St. Louis, Missouri, in fall 2011. Now entering her sophomore season as coach of UAA’s cheerleaders, Tricia is excited about putting together a stellar squad that can pump up the Seawolf spirit at UAA men’s and women’s home basketball games.
A self-proclaimed sports nut, Tricia’s life revolves around staying fit and teaching others how to do the same. “Sports are my thing, my life—that, and fitness,” she says.
Tricia earned a degree in exercise science with an emphasis in coaching from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, where she was also an All American gymnast and track & field superstar. She adds professional cheering and dancing to the mix, having spent the better part of a decade as a Pro Team Dancer for the Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Chicago Rush arena football team. Tricia currently works as a personal trainer for AlaskaFit and is director of Quake Girls, the dance team for the Alaska Quake semi-professional basketball team.
With her many years of relevant experience, UAA would be hard-pressed to find someone more qualified than Tricia to lead UAA’s cheerleading squad. “It really is the perfect job for me—I get to use all of my experience from way back,” says Tricia, who’s been coaching since the age of 14.
UAA’s cheerleading squad is an intramural program made up of 14 cheerleaders. To be eligible for the squad, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of six credits, maintain a 2.0 GPA, pay a minimal equipment fee and commit to a set practice/game schedule.
The squad is made up mostly of women, but Tricia says that men are essential for executing those crowd-pleasing lifts and stunts. “Most guys don’t realize how much strength cheerleading actually takes,” she says.
Some people also question whether or not cheerleading can be considered a sport. “I can understand their argument because there’s not a winner or a loser in cheerleading, unless you’re talking about a competition squad,” Tricia says, “but it’s a sport in that it requires teamwork and physical demands—more than most people understand. Cheerleading requires strength, rhythm and coordination; there’s a technique behind everything, just like in any other sport.”
Tricia’s experience as a professional cheerleader and dancer shines through in her coaching style. “I tend to bring in more dance to cheerleading than some coaches would,” she says. “We cheer and we dance.”
When selecting her squad, Tricia looks for someone that can do stunts, dance and cheer—and tumbling is a bonus. “Stunting is important because that’s what the fans like.” Tricia also adds a formal interview to the tryout process so she can get a sense of how her potential cheerleaders present themselves, both on and off the court.
Tricia encourages the squad to get involved with the community as much as possible, too. The cheerleaders will oftentimes join UAA’s athletics teams in their community service efforts, and the squad recently traveled to Sand Point, Alaska, to put on a cheerleading clinic.
In her short time at UAA, Tricia has enjoyed watching the university grow, both academically and athletically, and is happy to be a part of the supportive university community. It’s a perk, too, that her squad gets to cheer on two very successful basketball teams.
The UAA men’s and women’s basketball teams have been busy breaking records and making school history with their outstanding performances. Though it wouldn’t be right to attribute the teams’ hard-earned successes to having great sideline support, we certainly like to think the UAA Seawolf Squad helps boost players’ morale while they’re on the home court.
“Cheerleaders are a part of the game,” Tricia says. “I think it’s weird when you go to a game and there are no cheerleaders—it’s a part of the sport.”
Tricia is busy preparing for tryouts to find the next generation of UAA cheerleaders. Tryouts will be held Sept. 16–23, 2012, at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. Students interested in more information can visit http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/recreation/intramurals/team-sports/cheerleading.cfm .
Check out www.goseawolves.com for basketball stats and the 2012–13 season game schedule. We’re sure the Seawolf Squad would welcome some help in cheering on our amazing athletes!