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Last week, the Ravens finalized their 2010 cheerleading squad, giving spots to 40 women that will represent the purple and black during the upcoming season.
Cheerleaders coordinator Tina Galdieri – with the help of several other judges – narrowed down a list of over 200 hopefuls over two days of tryouts, several rounds of interviews and a “practice” practice.
Galdieri noted several factors that contributed to building this year’s group into one of the best she’s seen, pointing to the Ravens’ on-field success and the popular swimsuit calendar as two excellent exposures.
“It’s a great group that has really shown improvement over the years, based on looks and talent,” Galdieri said on Tuesday. “Overall, the calendar has been a boon to us, and of course the team has done well. We’ve had more numbers, and we’re getting quality people.”
The Ravens have 14 new cheerleaders to go along with 26 veterans. In addition, there are 20 male cheerleaders, forming the NFL’s only club with dance and stunt teams.
“It was nerve-wracking,” said Sammi Jo, who returns for her third season. “It hasn’t gotten any easier in the past two years, but you have to really step it up every year and bring it every year.”
Galdieri said she was happy the new faces meshed so well with the veterans, and knew that an upcoming Bahamas trip for the calendar shoot would only solidify that team unity.
“Even though we had a large portion of girls that came back, and we were able to open up some more spots by growing the squad,” Galdieri explained. “The new girls really bring in a breath of fresh air to the team. Their enthusiasm really showed throughout tryouts. Not knowing what is going on kind of raises that excitement.
“I definitely think having 14 new girls brings a new perspective for the returning vets. And, I’ve seen the vets helping out the new faces. It’s been a really supportive atmosphere, which has been so positive.”