By Lauren Sieh

Staff reporter

Making the crowd get loud and pumped up is something Erin Doerksen knows all too well. Doerksen is the head cheerleading coach here at Southwestern.

Doerksen is from Newton and graduated from Bethel College, where she majored in art, and Doerksen still creates art in her free time. Her favorite medium is ceramics, but she enjoys all types. At Bethel, Doerksen played basketball and was a cheerleader, and she was given many leadership opportunities. Her cheer coach trusted her opinion and gave her many chances to grow within the cheer world.

This is Doerksen’s first year as a head coach in cheerleading. She previously was the assistant coach for Bethel’s cheerleading program, and she loves the opportunity of starting a program from scratch. Doerksen said, “Being a new program, it is hard to get people to want to help build the program. But, there are also kids that want to be a part of something that is growing.”

SC has had cheerleading for a while now, but they are moving toward a competitive program.

“The first step is growing the program so we have enough athletes to compete,” said Doerksen. “The minimum number for competitions is eight, but teams usually have 14-20 because it allows for group skills happening at one time along with bigger pyramids. We also get scored on showmanship – the more people you have on the mat, the flashier you can be. After we get numbers up, we can declare as a varsity sport within the KCAC and compete,” said Doerksen.

A member of the cheer team, Essence Ratzlaff, elementary education sophomore, said, “Coach Doerksen is an amazing coach. I think one of the most important things I’ve learned from her is to always keep trying.”

“She has the mindset of a young adult, so it is really helpful when relating to us. The 6 a.m. practices are not the easiest to rock, but she is very understanding, especially when people are sick or have emergencies they run into,” said Taryn Walter, elementary education freshman.

“I love working with kids in general, so being able to help kids, not just younger ages, but in the college level, learn new skills and progress in something has always been a fun aspect,” said Doerksen.

Lauren Sieh is a freshman majoring in communication. You may email her at

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published in Volume 130’s 3rd edition of The Collegian. To see past Collegian archives click the following link: