TAYLOR MCDANIEL | Reporter
Name: Emily Stricker
From: Labadie, Missouri
Major: Early Childhood Special Education
Q: When did you start playing your sport?
A: “I started cheerleading 14 years ago at age seven.”
Q: How did you get started in your sport?
A: ” I started cheerleading because of my mom. She enrolled my twin sister, Abby, and me in tumbling class. At recital, we watched an acrobatic routine and told our mom we wanted to try, so she enrolled us in competitive cheerleading. I stuck with the sport because of my coach, Steve Roberts. He pushed me to be the best athlete I could be and always encouraged me to try new things.”
Q: What is your biggest strength in your sport?
A: “My biggest strength would be motivation. I love to motivate people and push past what my obstacles are. I have come off several tough injuries the last few years, and I believe that it helps my team members stay motivated and overcome obstacles.”
Q: What is your most embarrassing moment in your sport?
A: “My freshman year of high school I made the varsity cheerleading squad and at a game, yearbook would take pictures. At a game, they took the worst picture of me flying; I looked terrified. The picture ended up being the center of the cheerleading page for yearbook, and every year after that, the squads I was on were reminded to always smile so the pictures in the yearbook look like we are happy.”
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?
A: “My biggest accomplishment was placing second at NCA nationals with the best team I could have asked for. The division we competed in is one of the hardest ones at the entire competition, so coming out in second place was a win all in itself. I couldn’t have asked for anything better from my team, and that team will always be one of my favorites.”
Q: What do you like most about your sport?
A: “I love the adrenaline I get from this sport. It’s thrilling to step out into the spotlight knowing you only get 2 minutes and 30 seconds to impress the judges and everyone watching. With the adrenaline comes confidence. I feel confident in myself and my teammates when I step onto the mat and feel like I can accomplish everything.”
Q: Why did you choose to play for Lindenwood?
A: “When I was little, I went to a small cheerleading performance and watched Lindenwood cheerleaders perform. I looked at my dad and said, ‘When I’m old enough, I want to cheer for Lindenwood.’ I looked into a lot of different programs, but my heart always lead back to the Lions, and I knew that I would find teams [here] that would push me to be the best of my ability.”
Q: Do you have any game day rituals?
A: “Before competing, I get really quiet and don’t like to be around anyone. I like to stay focused and ready to go. In the warm-up room, I always throw one to two tumbling passes so I don’t get tired before competing. I also knock on my head four times right before going on.”
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: “Cheerleading is my favorite thing to do. Other than cheer, I like to take hikes, craft and spend time with my friends and family.”
Q: Who do you look up to in your sport?
A: “I look up to my coaches, Jarell Stated and Steve Roberts. Both of them have pushed me to become the best athlete I could possibly be and have grown my love for this sport. They have motivated me to become better not only for myself but for my team and have believed in me when I found it hard to believe in myself. I couldn’t thank either of them enough for everything they have ever given me.”
Q: What keeps you motivated?
A: “My teammates keep me motivated. Everyone wants to win nationals, but without your teammates and a positive coach, you won’t win. I go to practice everyday for the love of the sport, for my teammates and to prove to myself that I cannot give up on my goal of winning a national championship.”
Q: What are three things you could not live without and why?
A: “Cheerleading because it’s what has shaped me to be the person I am today. I don’t think I will ever get out of the cheerleading world. I want to continue to inspire others in the way my coaches and this sport have done for me. Family and friends; they have been my biggest support system throughout my entire journey. I couldn’t ask for a better family or group of friends that are so motivating and understanding. And Mexican food, I could eat Mexican food everyday of my life.”
Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be?
A: “I would honestly pick my mom, dad and my coach, Steve Roberts. All three have been huge influences in my life. I’ve learned so much from these people and couldn’t be more thankful.”
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: “Nothing is impossible because the word ‘impossible’ spells out ‘I’m possible’.” -Audrey Hepburn
Q: Do you have any advice for young athletes?
A: “Never give up on your dreams. You can reach everything you set your mind to. There will always be tough times in every sport, but it does not match up to the number of successes and accomplishments you can receive.”
Q: What are your plans for after college?
A: “I would like to continue cheerleading by being a coach. I currently coach for Fort Zumwalt North High School and love to see the difference I can make. Eventually, I would like to open up my own cheerleading gym, although I’m not too sure where yet.”