UH Cheerleaders Gear Up For Football Season - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

UH Cheerleaders Gear Up For Football Season

The football players aren't the only ones gearing up for the new season. The University of Hawaii cheerleaders are working hard on their routines.

Welcome to fall camp.

"We have a new team. We've got a lot of good recruits. So I'm very excited because the talent level is awesome," says Kellie Mikami, UH cheerleading coach. 

She's not talking about the football squad.

Selected from some 60 candidates from across the country, these 24 spirited men and women have earned the right to call themselves University of Hawaii cheerleaders.

"It's not something easy that I think everyone can do. You have to have commitment to, like, work hard and put everything into the team," says Rae-Ann Ogino. 

That commitment intensifies as the football season nears. Time to suck up the pain, shrug off the humidity.

In addition to practicing routines four days a week, the cheerleaders run and lift weights.

"We have to be strong physically. But then, also mentally, it can be really difficult for people."

Difficult because there's a lot of falling before perfection can be achieved.

Bo looks forward to this week's season opener. He was on the grid iron in high school.

"I was big then. I was about 230. One day at the beach, my friend just saw me do a backflip. And they're like, 'hey, you can be a cheerleader.'" says Bo.

Now he's part of a team that took third at nationals earlier this year. Of course, he's still exposed to football style injuries.

"Black eyes and cuts because when the girls come down, sometimes they come down crazy with their elbows. A lot of guys have shoulder problems."

Mikami herself underwent surgery for a torn ligament.

The men preach technique, knowing they have a responsibility on their shoulders.

"The body lines just fall together. And you just got to, you know, that they trust you with their life."

Difficult stunts capped with bright smiles. The UH cheerleaders say that's what sets them apart.

"We just have a lot of personality. We have fun."

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