New cheerleading coach looks to future

A replacement for Robb Walker, former head cheerleading coach, was announced in January. Talia Russell was named head coach, the fourth cheer coach in the past 14 months. Russell replaces Walker, who suddenly resigned on Nov. 19, without explanation.

Russell was not informed of Walker’s departure.

“I don’t know anything about (it). I really don’t know. And I prefer to keep it that way, just because I want to have an open mind,” she said.

Russell is more focused on continuing to build St. Edward’s University’s school spirit, which is a part of the reason why she came.

“It felt like a real community and it felt like the athletics department and all of the teams were really supported by everyone at the school,” she said.

Russell is from Pennsylvania and has been cheering since middle school. She cheered four years at Kutztown University, including being team captain her senior year. After, Russell earned her master’s degree of education in sport management from Millersville University in 2014. She went back to to Kutztown last fall to be an assistant cheer coach before coming to St. Edward’s this semester.

“Everyone’s values and the Hilltopper way just kind of really resonated with me and I just really like the sense of the community,” she said about her decision to come to St. Edward’s.

Meagan Aust, a team captain, calls Russell an exciting coach to have.

“We are having a lot of fun this semester,” Aust said. “We are trying a lot of new things and it’s exciting.”

Russell believes the team is having fun because of the good communication all around.

“I think all the cheerleaders feel comfortable talking to me. I’m sure that with good communication we could figure everything out.”

The team will be performing during the halftimes of the homecoming basketball games on Saturday, Russell said.

“I’m excited for our team to show off all of our hard work,” she said.