Ever heard of a little school called the University of Connecticut? You know, that tiny school from that tiny state with all those NCAA basketball titles? No? Well let me tell you, even if you’ve never stepped foot on the sprawling Storrs campus, you’re a Husky. No matter where you actually decided to matriculate for college, if you’re from Connecticut, you rep UConn no matter what. Connecticut might be a small state, but we have some pretty proud people.
In this post, we’re going all-athletic. I’m wearing Nike Roche’s, Adidas tights (on sale, $20!!!), Primark hoodie and a Huskies beanie. Cassie’s rocking Nike Roche’s (and they’re more fire than mine), PINK tights, and a UConn t-shirt and hat. And what better place to shoot this sporty look other than the beach? If you haven’t noticed, I really like the beach.
I decided to go an athletic route with this post because I’m that person who has to dress well in order to work out. If I don’t look good, I don’t have the confidence to make it to the gym – especially since I don’t know how to use any of those machines except the elliptical. If ya look good, ya feel good.
So back to UConn. Even though I’m a proud Boston University Terrier, I’ve grown up with UConn. My sister goes to UConn, my two best friends from middle/high school go to UConn, my cousins go to UConn, my aunts and uncles went to UConn, my dad worked at UConn, I’ve gotten surgeries and other medical care done at UConn. UConn, UConn, UCONN. This school has literally been so engrained in me I used to think that the Yukon Territory in Canada was spelled UConn.
Now let me better introduce you to Cassie. Cassie is 21 years old, a Libra just like I am, and hails from West Haven, CT. She’s also 50% Colombian and 50% Italian and we met when I was a freshman at Notre Dame high school. Years later, Cassie now is a student at the University of Connecticut.
At UConn, Cassie was a one of their famed cheerleaders. Here’s some insight into her time as one and what got her there:
“I have been cheerleading ever since I was about 9 years old, so over 10 years now. I first started as a West Haven Seahawk cheerleader, then as the Captain of Emmanuel College’s Cheerleading squad before transferring to UConn and joining their squad – a dream come true.
“As a member of the Spirit, Pride, and Tradition program, which includes the dance team and mascot I was given numerous opportunities that I am forever grateful for. I cheered at all the games for the football and the men’s and women’s basketball games and was lucky enough to travel around the country with the team and even ended up at the Final Four games back in 2014. I even cheered in Madison Square Garden and was broadcast on ESPN.
“As a part of the team, I was given a myriad of Nike gear to cheer in and they let me keep it at the end of the season. Being a part of a program like this and been able to experience all the things I did are truly memories I will never forget.”
Cassie’s workout routine was nothing to be messed with either.
“As a cheerleader, I practiced were usually twice a week for 2 hours and I’d have open gym once a week for an hour. That’s on top of football and basketball games and extra appearances. As a team for practice, we would run a timed 8-minute mile do a combination of active stretching and static stretching and wrap up with conditioning (cardio combined with core strengthening and interval training) plus our own workout routine outside practice.
“If I have time or a break in my schedule I try to do the extra workouts because it will only make me a better teammate and prepared for the games. People may not know but cheering at games requires a lot of endurance and strength.Now as a former cheerleader, I stay active by going to the gym at least 3 times a week for 1.5 hours. My advice for people who want to work out is stay consistent and have a schedule of when to work out. Split up your time accordingly and workout a different muscle group each day, but always do abs and cardio. Start slow at first and don’t push yourself to the extreme or else you’ll be sore and hurt your body more.
“Always challenge yourself once you reach your goal. Make working out something you enjoy not something that you have to do like going to class (you go but in reality you don’t want to be there). Also, eat healthy and give your body nutrients since you are working out you need the right foods to make that workout most beneficial!”
Photography by Vincenzo Calvi & Cassie Murillo