Athlete spotlight: Cheerleader overcomes injuries


Graphic by Allison Plume

CHELSEA BEHRENS | Special to Lindenlink

Lindenwood cheerleader Katrena Boland has suffered several painful injuries, but she continues to persevere because of her passion for the sport.

Boland, 20, is a junior business major at Lindenwood. In addition to her classwork and waitressing at Olive Garden, she also lifts and throws girls into the air, hoping to catch them when they fall.

She is a base in her stunt group for Lindenwood’s all-girl team. She cheers at football, baseball and basketball games, as well as competitions. Boland transferred to Lindenwood this semester.

Earlier this fall, Boland was injured when a flyer lost her balance and slammed into the side of her neck and arm.

Katrena Boland cheers on the Lindenwood Lions football team at Harlen C. Hunter Stadium on Nov. 3, just before she was told she had to take a medical leave for two weeks. Lindenwood lost to the University of Central Missouri 28-31.

Photo by Chelsea Behrens

“My flyer ended up being fine, but I was in so much pain,” she said. “I did not say anything about how hurt I was though, because all I’ve been wanting to do is cheer and be a part of this team. I did not want them to pull me.”

But because she did not let herself fully heal, Boland later discovered that she sprained her right wrist and got tendinitis in her right arm. She was ordered to take a medical break from cheer but was cleared to resume the sport on Nov. 18.

Boland also has pushed through other injuries. She was born without the tissue that surrounds her knee cap and has suffered chronic sore knees.

Her twin sister, Kristena Boland, said it takes a lot of determination and passion to stick with something even though it can cause pain.

“Some people don’t get it, but when you’re passionate about something, you’ll do anything for it; I’m very proud of her,” she said.

One of Boland’s closest friends on her squad, junior Liz Belmar, said Boland puts a lot of heart into to the cheerleading program.

“She is a constant support and will take opportunities to show her dedication and appreciation through her smile and athleticism,” she said.

Boland has been cheering since she was 11. What really captivated her about the sport is the aspect of teamwork and getting to create a bond because she says cheer is about trusting one another. Winning awards and trophies also motivate her to be a better cheerleader.

“Cheering at LU has given me an all new perspective of the sport,” Boland said. “From what I’ve seen on the squad, everyone tries to support each other. When I had to sit out at practices from my injuries, my team made sure I was OK. Even though it can be rough at times, it’s the spirit and dedication from everyone that makes it fun and exciting.”