Captain’s Corner

Mike Diakunczak, Columnist

Jenna Chilcote, sophomore nursing major, loves being a base for the cheerleading squad, a base that was part of the last two squads to finish second and sixth at Nationals for the game day routine. I could have mentioned Chilcote’s position on the team and left it at that. However, it is hard to ignore the passion she has for the sport.

Chilcote wanted to cheer ever since she was young. The opportunity didn’t present itself until high school. It may have been a long time coming, but it certainly was worth the wait. Chilcote was named captain for the Millville Area high school cheer team and was nominated to represent the school in the Big 33 Football Classic her senior year. The Big 33 Football Classic is an all-star game between the best football players in Pennsylvania and Maryland along with the best cheerleaders from each area as well. 

Now, Chilcote continues to live out her passion through Misericordia. However, as a nursing major, a medical/health minor and a student athlete, where does she get any free time? That may be a trick question: Chilcote’s free time is limited, but she loves keeping herself on a treadmill.

“My days are jam packed. I wake up, go to class, go to work, go to lunch, go to work again, go to lab, go to practices, go to dinner, do some studying, go to sleep and then do it all over again. That is the life of me,” said Chilcote.

I asked her, “Aren’t you stressed? How do you handle cheer with everything else on your plate?” She laughed and lit up with the endless energy she seems to have.

“Of course there is stress,” she said. “Every day is stress. But that is why I love to cheer. I go to cheer, and all that stress seems to go away.”

She said she wants to thank her teammates for their everlasting friendship and for being another reason why she loves to cheer every day.

Just when I thought I heard it all from Chilcote, she told me she has plans to try out for the Universal Cheer Association but not to cheer; she wants to teach her passion to younger people at camps and other events. After a whole conversation, I thought I still wasn’t getting the main reason for her obvious and extraordinary commitment.

Then I came to learn that Chilcote has three younger sisters. Being the oldest sibling means having the biggest impact on the younger ones. She can thank her younger sisters for making her believe that she is true leader. Whether that is being a future captain for the Cougars or a mentor for UCA, her leadership qualities stem from one thing: her big sister role.

 “I try to be a role model to them, even to this day,” she said. “I think they look up to me. Even if they do or don’t, I’ll continue to try to prove that I can be.”