POULSBO — Performing in front of people was not too difficult for Meghan Ottomano when she tried out for the Portland State University Cheer Team. What was difficult was learning a dance, chant, and new techniques in less than 24 hours.
“I was really nervous,” Meghan, 17, said. “There were a lot of people trying out that were going to be upperclassmen … They all seemed like they knew what they were doing.”
Despite being one of a few freshmen trying out for the team April 19-20 at PSU’s Stott Center, Meghan was one of 28 accepted for the team. Fifty-four people tried out.
Meghan performed in a group of three. She and the others trying out showcased their ability to jump, dance, chant, and perform in front of students. The 54 were taught a short dance, which they had to learn overnight. They were also given words and had to create their own chant and make up the motion for those chants.
It was similar to high school tryouts, except in high school those trying out are given one week to prepare, Meghan said.
The most difficult part of tryouts was the stunt portion, which used different techniques than Meghan had used before.
Coaches held cheer clinics for two months prior to April 19 for people to practice. Because of the distance, Meghan did not attend any clinics.
However, cheering and stunts are not unknown to the soon-to-be North Kitsap High School graduate and PSU freshman. Meghan has cheered since she was a youngster — first for Pee Wee football, and later on All-Star cheer teams. She won an All-American title this year at the National Cheerleaders Association championships, and was captain of the North Kitsap High School cheer team, which took second at State in January.