Huskies cheer captain makes University of Oregon squad

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Sweet Home High School senior Stefani Crocker has made the University of Oregon cheerleading squad.

Making the team caps off a year in which Crocker’s team won the 4A state cheerleading championship.

“Winning state was definitely the highlight,” Crocker, 18, said.

Crocker has been on the cheerleading team for only two years, she said, but she has been dancing for the past 15 years.

UO has two cheer squads, a stunt squad and a cheer dance squad. Crocker earned a place on the cheer dance squad. The stunt squad includes 12 women and 12 men. The cheer dance squad has 15 women.

“We’ll yell and stuff while they’re up in the air,” she said, explaining how the teams work.

She estimated that 60 people tried out, and four were added to the team. Two veterans were cut.

Once a cheerleader has been on the team for two years, they no longer have to worry about being cut, she said.

It was a natural step for Crocker to try out for the Ducks cheerleading team.

“I always wanted to be like a Blazer dancer,” she said. “Somebody said, ‘Oh, her style is so U of O or something, and that was the school where I applied.”

Stunts have been a critical part of the Husky cheerleading program this year, but Crocker doesn’t have the experience as a flier herself.

“I was at a disadvantage for the stunt team,” she said. She also has not done partner stunting. Dance however has been part of her life, but what’s kept her in it are the friends she has made in it over the years.

It’s also in her blood. Her mother and grandmother were both dancers.

“I like music,” she said. “I like being in front of crowds.”

Crocker expects cheering to be a challenge, she said. “The schedule is going to be crazy, with classes, games and practices.”

And she expects the routines to be tougher than anything she’s been doing, she said. “They have a really strong cheerleading program, and I’d really like to stick with that.”

When the candidates for the team were cut to six or seven, they had to learn and perform one more dance.

“The final dance was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said. The dance was one and a half minutes left and one hour to learn it with about 10 minutes to fix their makeup.

“I’ve always had a week or so to pick up a dance, especially in cheerleading,” Crocker said.

Crocker plans to major in human anatomy and become a physical therapist or go to medical school. She is interested in becoming a doctor specializing in arthroscopy. But she hasn’t decided for sure.

She chose UO “because I want to meet new people, and I like the Eugene area,” she said.

Crocker is the daughter of Tim and Karolyn Crocker. She has one brother, Brock, 14. She carries a 4.0 GPA.

She was on the cheerleading team for two years and two years on the dance team. She was a captain on this year’s cheer squad.

She also played soccer for three years. She has been in leadership all four years of high school, including vice president on her class board and student manager for two years. She also has been student body vice president.

“I’ve had fun,” she said. “I’m excited to start cheering.”