ATHLETE PROFILE: Emma Friedman & Brandi Tish

Each week during the football season, and now the basketball season, the Carnegie Mellon varsity cheerleading squad has been present and showing their support and pride for our athletic teams.

They work year round and are the voice of Carnegie Mellon at fall and winter sporting events.

To show our appreciation, the Tartan sat down with senior co-captains Brandi Tish and Emma Friedman to hear what collegiate cheerleading is really about.

Tartan: So tell us a little about the team itself.
Tish: Well there’s about 15 of us; we have a couple of seniors, and we actually have two graduate students on the squad.
Frieman: We also have a new coach, Alauna Dunphy, from the University of Minnesota, and she’s really amazing.

Tartan: Do you and the other girls have any other type of athletic background?
T: I cheered in elementary and middle school, but in high school I got into gymnastics, skiing, and fencing. Then when I came to Carnegie Mellon there was no gymnastics team, and skiing really isn’t big around here, so I got back into cheerleading.
F: I was actually a very serious gymnast all through high school. We were really good, but then I threw my back out and couldn’t ever really get back into gymnastics. I didn’t start cheerleading until my sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon, but I really enjoy it.
T: And then most of the other girls did different sports as well. There are actually very few girls on the squad that came to Carnegie Mellon as cheerleaders or had a lot of cheerleading experience.
F: Yeah, we have pretty much someone who’s participated in every sport: track, basketball, a lot of gymnastics, and a lot of dancing. Every year we have to fight Dancers’ Symposium for some girls.

Tartan: Can you try and give us an idea of what a typical cheerleading practice is like for you?
F: In the fall, we mostly practice different cheers for during the football games, but we have a new halftime dance routine for during basketball games that our coach choreographed for us, and it’s really awesome, but hard.
T: We have three straight minutes of non-stop aerobic activity, and it’s really fast paced, so we start with cardio and then do a lot of stretching.
We do a lot of work on jumps and stunts, and then we start piecing together parts of our routine and trying to get the whole thing together.
F: It’s a very athletic, fun routine. It will be really great once we have everything worked out, so lately that’s what pretty much we have spent our practices working on.

Tartan: Wow, this sounds like it should be a great halftime show to see. Any idea when you’ll start performing it at games?
F: We’re aiming for the game on Friday against Emory. That’s our goal. We still have a lot of work to do though, so it will be really great if we’re ready by then.
T: It’ll be a lot of fun, I’m really excited to get out there and try it!