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Pace Spirit Squad Features First Male Cheerleader

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Pace Spirit Squad Features First Male Cheerleader

Photo courtesy of Jamie Hund

Photo courtesy of Jamie Hund

Photo courtesy of Jamie Hund

Emily Wolfrum, Editor in Chief

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Junior finance major Jamie Hund is no stranger to traditional sports, be it football, basketball, baseball, or even martial arts. Now, as Pace’s first and only male cheerleader, he’s introducing the University to something completely different.

Hund, who first started cheering in 2006 with the Poughkeepsie World Challenge All Stars and has been coaching since age 14, joined the Pace Sprit Squad after transferring to the University this year.

While Hund is used to being one of few male cheerleaders on a team, he admitted that he wasn’t initially prepared for being the sole male cheerleader.

“My first football game was a little uncomfortable. I’m looking up in the crowd, and I hadn’t thought about what it was going to be like for me to be here as the only guy,” Hund said. “Up in this area, a lot of people haven’t seen it before.”

Hund has since settled into his position and says that he has received nothing but support from the Pace community, who know him for his energetic stunting at sporting events.

“Countless people on campus that I talk to, and who I thought would ridicule me, they’re like, ‘dude, that’s awesome,’” Hund said. “Tumbling is an adrenaline rush, and to me, that’s my favorite part of the cheer. I like showing off, I like getting the crowd going.”

After earning his Associate’s degree in business administration at Dutchess Community College last year, he initially planned to transfer to a southern school with a large cheer program. However, a tumbling injury altered his plans.

“One of the girls on my team at my All Star gym [from Pace] told me to try out,” Hund said. “I didn’t even know [Pace] had a cheer program. I found out about it over the summer, and I hadn’t made my schedule yet because I thought I still had opportunities elsewhere.”

Although Pace wasn’t his first choice, and he admits that the cheer program is modest, Hund expressed his enthusiasm in cheering with his teammates and newfound friends.

“They’re not very competitive, but I’ve made friends on the team now, so I’m not walking away from it,” Hund said. “I’m hoping between our coach, the other girls, and myself, we can take the program to the next level. I think the biggest thing is getting more guy involvement. That would be huge.”

The addition of more men to the team, according to Hund, would increase the team’s opportunities in stunting and allow them to gain athletic credibility.

“You need bulky muscle to throw some stunts up. Coach [Christine] Farina will have us start working on a stunt and say, ‘I need Jamie underneath it because he’s the strongest base,’ but there’s only one of Jamie, so what happens when we need three other of those same stunts going,” Hund said. “The strength just adds to it and helps it so much.”

He encourages men with experience in other sports to give it a try, noting that Hofstra University’s nationally recognized team is comprised of many former lacrosse and football players.

Coach Farina expressed the same desire to add more men to the team, acknowledging Hund’s benefit to the team.

“[Hund] brings a ton of positive energy to our practices and games. He is extremely talented and knowledgeable on cheerleading skills,” Farina said. “I look forward to watching him grow…and hope we can recruit more guys onto the team.”

While Hund loves the sport, he does not plan on continuing it long-term. He hopes to pursue a business job in Manhattan after graduation and earn enough money to travel and live comfortably.

“I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to figure out what I want. I absolutely love what I do, but [it] wouldn’t support what else I want,” Hund said. “It’s going to be the hardest thing for me to walk away from, but that means that I do plan on eventually walking away from it because I don’t see it supporting my future lifestyle.”

However, he will never forget the skills he learned in during his years of competing and coaching. Hund says that cheering has taught him many of the responsibility, leadership, and people skills necessary in the business field.

“There’s a lot of psychology in dealing with kids. You’ve got kids that are afraid to go backwards, so you have to build trust. I’m spotting you through a back handspring. Now I feel like you’re ready and I step away,” Hund said. “I need to convince a kid that I believe in [them], now believe in yourself.”

Hund carries out the confidence he teaches in his own life, defying adversity in pursuit of his own goals.

“If you feel strongly about doing something or even if you’re on the fence about doing something, and your go-to thought is what other people are going to think about you, you’re not doing what’s best for yourself,” Hund said.

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