Amanda Boyer/Photography Editor
This year the Seton Hall cheer team and the Sapphires are coming together to bring school spirit to the next level. Both teams are known for performing at events like men’s and women’s basketball games and participating in various community service events.
But unlike years past, the two teams are now working closely in collaboration as one unit: the Spirit Program.
This semester marks the first time the two teams have performed together. Both the cheer and dance teams are also involved in community service.
The Spirit Program is dedicated to raising money for cancer research and has participated in various events for the cause, such as a breast cancer walk in October, as well as the upcoming Relay for Life.
“This year we have a new coach who expects a lot from us which is good,” said Hayley DiPillo, senior captain for the cheerleading team and early education and special education major.
She feels that the cheer team is more of a commitment this year than in years past, which is pushing the members to become better.
“I definitely think the joining of cheer and dance has strengthened the Spirit Program,” DiPillo said. “All together we are about 40 people and there is strength in numbers.”
Senior Alyssa Kleinman, an elementary special education and speech language pathology major, and one of the senior captains for the Sapphires, expressed similar feelings about the joining of the two teams.
“This year we are really focusing on unifying our teams so that we can represent Seton Hall in the best way possible,” Kleinman said. “Some things that we are doing to accomplish that goal is collaborating for our half time performances and during timeouts.”
Kleinman added: “It is so nice to share such an amazing experience with a wonderful group of people. I wouldn’t want to be cheering with anyone else!”
The Sapphires specifically are working more on their technique and striving toward a possible competition this March.
Julia Lanuez, a sophomore speech pathology major who belongs to Sapphires, expressed excitement about upcoming competition opportunities.
“Our main priority is being a presence at the basketball games,” Lanuez said.
“This year we’re doing a lot more technique,” said Tori Cunningham, a sophomore elementary special education major and member of the Sapphires. “We’re also working with cheer on being more of a presence in athletics and in the school as a whole.”
“We’re very thankful for all the opportunities we’ve been given from athletics,” Lanuez said, referring to herself and to Cunningham. “And the support the Spirit program gets from the teams at Seton Hall.”
Rachel O’Connor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.