The Keene State College cheerleading team is facing new changes as the 2017 season kicks off.

With yet another new coach, the young team is learning to work together with new direction, while also taking on new techniques and positions.

New Head Coach Tiffany Kellom discussed the conditions of her application.

Jake Paquin / Photo Editor

Jake Paquin / Photo Editor

Kellom currently coaches numerous other teams in the Keene area, including the high school and youth program in Keene.

Kellom said, “When I had heard that Keene [State] College needed a coach, I thought about it for awhile because it’s a lot to put on someone’s plate. But cheerleading has just been a part of my life for about 24 years, so this just seemed like the next step for me to take and so far I’m really enjoying it.”

Kellom said she is embracing her new team fully and enjoying the new dynamics that come with coaching at a college level.

“The girls are great. We’re starting off small this year; it’s definitely a rebuilding year for sure. It’s hard for this program because there has been so many new coaches over the past few years, so it’s getting the word out that there’s stability back in the program. The girls are also getting along great, we have a really great group of girls. I haven’t really had to deal with any drama yet. I like coming to a group of girls that want to work hard. They listen and take the feedback really well and they want to get better, and they want to make sure they are doing everything correctly,” said Kellom.

Although Kellom hasn’t had much experience coaching college-aged cheerleaders, she said she finds the shift from high school level to college level very easy.

“It’s nice with the college-age group that they know how to articulate questions, which is not something I’ve been used to, so it’s a lot easier for me to coach them just because they already know what they’re looking to do and how to ask the right questions on getting better,” said Kellom.

With only three sophomores returning to the cheerleading team, the team is rebuilding with first-years.

Two of the first-years, Sarah Loureiro and Danielle Moffett, reflected on their own high school experiences in cheerleading, as well as their thoughts of Kellom.

Loureiro talked about the adversities she faced in high school and how those dynamics had greatly shifted. “The complete shift from my high school is amazing. I almost just didn’t cheer in college just because my high school coach just completely ruined the sport for me. I was so scared to actually come try out because I, one, thought I wasn’t going to make it and, two, I was just so scared that it was going to be worse than high school. So coming into being on a team that I’m actually friends with, it is just a complete dynamic change and I love it so much. It’s only been a month but these girls are so close,” said Loureiro.

Like Loureiro, Moffett had a similar experience in high school. “I’ve cheered since I was in fourth grade. I had pretty much a similar experience with my coach. I quit because it was too aggressive and [on] my team, there was too much drama and hatred,” Moffett said. ”The girls were pretty much like high school cheerleaders that you see in the movies. I mean, I knew I wanted to cheer in college, but I was definitely nervous.”

The dramatic shift from high school cheerleading to college cheerleading broadened both Loureiro’s and Moffett’s perspective. The coaching staff has also brought a tremendous change.

“Tiff [Kellom] has been absolutely incredible. She’s like a mom to us to the point where we’re close with her, like we have a relationship and we can tell her things, you know, when we’re not feeling well. She’s super understanding. It’s incredible, like I’ve never had a relationship with my coach like this. It’s just such a happy and friendly atmosphere,” said Moffett.

Loureiro added, “We’ll joke around, we’ll have a fun time with it, but we know when we have to get down to work. She’s great.”

With yet another new coach, the cheerleading team’s biggest goal is to “get us out there” and to “really help people.”

“We’re really trying to get out there and do fundraising and volunteer work. We’re just trying to make a name for ourselves, that Keene State cheer can be something to be proud of,” said Moffett.

With much to look forward to, Kellom brought up events that the cheerleading team really has to look forward to. “We’ve already done the DeMar [Marathon] race, we’re helping at the orientations at the school, we’ll be performing at the Nocturnal Knockout, we’ll be performing at the Pumpkin Festival and then we’ll be performing at the youth pep rally as well. There’s also an all star gym in the area, Northern Lights, that we’ll be performing at, Night with the Stars which is their showcase. So we have a lot of performances that we’re doing so just really getting our team out into the community and showing the community what we have,” said Kellom.

With much to look forward to, Kellom and her team have high hopes for an exciting season in Owl Nation.

Caroline Perry can be contacted at cperry@kscequinox.com