Natasha Alday has been chosen as the new head coach of the Spiritline cheer team at Walden Grove High School. She sat down with the Sahuarita Sun to talk about her goals and all things cheer.
How did you get your start at Walden Grove?
In December I took over for the registrar and I absolutely love it so far. I'm excited to get back to school and be with everybody again. I’ve been around in Sahuarita for quite awhile. I actually worked with the LINK program for awhile too and I absolutely love Sahuarita, so that’s why I decided to take the registrar position at Walden Grove.
How does it feel to accept this new position?
It was already great being at Walden Grove and being in the community and now I feel like I get to dive even deeper into the community and do a bit more and I'm super excited about that.
Where does your passion for cheer come from?
I started cheer in fifth grade and I actually cheered on a Pop Warner team up in Tucson. I cheered for the Tucson Chargers all the way up until I got to high school. I attended Catalina Foothills as a freshman and I made the varsity team there and then I transferred to Flowing Wells after that and I was on the varsity team until I graduated there in 2016. This is going to be my first year as the head coach but as soon as I became registrar at Walden Grove I was an assistant coach for the cheer team for the rest of the season.
What did you learn from your experience as assistant coach that you will bring into your leadership position?
Initially I had just planned on going and volunteering, just helping out and once I got there, I mean, my instincts just took over. I started helping doing different things and trying to teach the girls different techniques. A lot of that came from my background and it helped to incorporate what I know into what had already been established with that team. It's cool to bring my own outlook on things and a new, fresh look onto the routine they’d already been working on.
What are your goals for the program?
As far as the program goes, I'm going to work super hard on building a solid foundation that we can use to continue to get stronger each and every year going forward. By building a foundation, I’m relating that to stability and skills for the members and helping them grow as a team. I think it's important too that I meet with admin to see what's worked in the past and what hasn't so we can have that strong foundation to keep building upon.
As far as my personal goal, I’m just super excited to help each of the members on the team to reach their highest potential, both as individuals and working together as a team. As far as competition, my goal is to see all the members accomplish their goals. If they are proud of themselves that's all I care about. In the end, it's all about them working as a team and as individuals to get better. As long as they're happy and proud of themselves that's all that matters.
The main overall goal of the cheer team is to support the teams and community. I want to participate in all activities possible, big or small. Of course, our big activities are cheering for sports and performing at pep rallies and assemblies. Community involvement is really important. I'm really looking forward to diving more into the community and having members do community service and help other schools.
What are you looking for in a member of the cheer team?
It's not just the skills I'm looking for. I mean, having good stunts and motion and jumps and tumbling skills, that's all really important for a cheer team but I also like to interview members. I like to see if they have leadership skills, if they are going to work well with a team. Teamwork needs to be one of their values. I like them to have a positive attitude because we're representing Walden Grove and representing the community. I want them to be passionate about cheer and really committed.
What will the team’s schedule be like?
During the week, we practice everyday after school. On game days, they show up an amount of time before the game so we can cover anything we are doing for half time, or anything special — senior night, maybe decorate the boys lockers, those kinds of things. As we enter competition season, Saturday practices are usually added in if I feel we need that amount of extra time. Usually Saturday practices are nice as members aren't coming right from school and haven’t been using their brain all day long. They're 100 percent focused on just practicing.
What do you do in your free time?
So, I'm super busy. I'm going to be attending the UofA this fall to finish my bachelor's degree in secondary education. A lot of my free time will go to that. Other than that, I love to go the lake and spend time with my puppy. Her and I like to go to the lake together. When I'm on social media I'm going through a ton of cheer videos, looking at cool stuff, watching new cool stunts.
With COVID-19, tryouts were conducted virtually. Those auditioning made a video featuring their dance, cheer, stunt and tumbling skills and a judging panel will select team members.