Bulldog Stadium will be filled with spirit up to the goalposts at Friday afternoon’s football game (Nov. 23 ) when approximately 175 area high school and middle school cheerleaders will participate in California State University, Fresno’s Cheer Day.
Fresno State’s Spirit Team — consisting of 12 cheerleaders, 10 dancers and the mascot, Timeout — will host the event at the 1 p.m. game against San Jose State when the university’s new spirit coach, Stacia Hodges, also will be formally introduced.
Hodges, a former NFL choreographer and former member of a national championship college cheer team, was appointed to the position earlier this semester.
She said Cheer Day is designed to generate interest and support for the students whose job is to keep the community jazzed about their school and its athletic teams.
“Cheer Day provides the high school spirit teams the opportunity to perform at a college game, in front of 40,000 plus people,” Hodges said. “These kids never get that opportunity.”
The young cheerleaders will be on the sidelines split into four squads at each corner of the field, joining with members of the Fresno State spirit team performing routines during the game.
At halftime, the Fresno State Spirit Team will present a five-minute performance and the younger cheerleaders will observe them before joining in during the final minute.
The Bulldog cheerleaders and dancers will perform a special compilation of routines they learned this year from their new coach.
Hodges brings extensive choreography experience to her new post, having served as a guest choreographer for the NFL’s St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders and as a member of the 1996 Long Beach State national champion dance team.
Hodges was appointed coach of the Fresno State spirit program by Dr. Judy Sakaki, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, and began her assignment Aug. 6.
Sakaki said she is excited about Hodge’s role.
“Stacia brings the enthusiasm, experience and ability to take our Fresno State spirit squad to a new level of performance,” Sakaki said.
Hodges has owned Virgo Dance Studio in Fresno since 1999 where she teaches champion dance and all-star teams and pep and cheer classes.
She has been head instructor for the U.S. Spiritleaders Cheer and Dance Corps in Long Beach since 1995 where she was responsible for development of program material for all summer camps.
Additionally, Hodges runs private cheer and dance camps in Northern and Southern California as well as out of state, coordinating material, routines and program guidelines for cheer and dance. She also hires and coordinates choreographers for the camps.
She serves as a consultant for several high schools including Buchanan High in Clovis where she reorganized the pep and cheer program last year.
In addition to the Rams Cheerleaders, she has choreographed for the University of North Carolina and was a member and captain of the Anaheim Piranhas Arena football cheerleader squad in 1996-1997.
Tryouts for Fresno State’s spirit squad are held annually in the spring. For more information, contact Hodges at (559) 278-8785