Sunday, May 06, 2007

Richland woman flies with Sea Gals 

Posted by Sasha at 5:38 PM ET

By Elena Olmstead, staff writer
Tri-City Herald
Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Richland's Natalie Cain is a Sea Gal.

Cain, a Southridge High School graduate, competed over two weekends to become part of the Seattle Seahawks cheerleading team for the upcoming National Football League season. There are 28 women on the Sea Gals.

"This is something I really wanted to do," said Cain, who was selected to the squad Monday. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

Cain, 20, said she set her sights on trying out for the team a couple of years ago, when she was living in Seattle.

But her move last fall back to Richland -- where her mother, Janelle Stromstad, lives -- gave her the time to train and focus on her goal.

Cain said auditioning for the team was nerve-wracking. Tryouts were held April 21 and April 28 in Seattle and drew 275 participants.

She said on the first day, the women waited in a parking garage next to Qwest Field for a chance to perform a one-minute dance for the judges.

Nearly half of the women were cut after the first day, while the others came back the next day to learn a dance routine.

Judges then cut the field to 50 women. Those finalists went through interviews and learned a final dance routine last weekend. Monday, the finalists performed the routine.

Cheerleading is nothing new for Cain, who was a cheerleader her senior year of high school and a member of the gymnastics team. She was also a member of the Elite Extreme competitive cheer team during her junior and senior years in high school, and it was her Elite coach who helped her earn a spot on the 2004 Washington State University cheer team.

Her Elite connections also helped her become a Sea Gal. Teri Rowe of Richland, who is involved with the Elite Cheer and Dance Center, helped choreograph the routine Cain performed on her first day of tryouts.

Rowe said when putting together the routine, she and Anna Merrifield, a budding choreographer, decided to play off of Cain's strengths. That meant focusing the routine around Cain's tumbling and cheerleading abilities.

"She's always been one of the most talented cheerleaders in the Tri-Cities," Rowe said.

The Sea Gals will keep Cain busy over the next year.

She said she's going back to Seattle today to start her part-time cheerleading job, which will include practices three times a week, performing at two preseason and eight regular season games and doing various community appearances.

A Seahawks spokesperson said the Sea Gals also take part in a yearly fundraiser for a local women's shelter.

Cain's first duty as a Sea Gal will come next week, when she participates in a photo shoot for the new Sea Gals calendar.

"I'm just looking forward to the season," Cain said. "And entertaining the greatest fans and the greatest team."

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