Orange Pride and Co-ed Cheerleading squad leave for national competition

As their fellow Bearkats return to classes this week, members of the SHSU Orange Pride Dance Team and Co-ed Cheerleading Squad will travel to Orlando, Fla. for the chance to compete in the National Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships. The competition, which Sam Houston’s spirit ambassadors attend each year, gives both teams the opportunity to compete against squads from colleges across the country and show off routines they have been preparing since the end of the fall semester.According to Malana Woodson, coach of the Orange Pride Dance Team, her squad has spent countless hours choreographing and rehearsing for nationals, even sacrificing a large part of their holiday vacation to perfect their routine.”Although we spent all year working on having good technique elements, we’ve been focused on practicing really hard for nationals since the beginning of December,” Woodson said. “The team only had a total of 10 days off over the Christmas break and the rest of the time we were here in town having two-a-day practices. It was a lot of work.”Woodson said this year Orange Pride wanted to go a different direction with their routine, and inspired by Huntsville’s reputation as the execution capital of Texas, created their dance around a prison theme.”We built our routine around a prison and anger theme. The beginning involves us breaking out of prison and taking off prison outfits,” she said. “We really wanted to do something that we had never done before and something that would also tie in to where we come from.” The Co-ed Cheerleading Squad has also spent the holidays practicing for the championship. Their routine is expected to feature the usual array of high-flying stunts set to music and also a section of traditional cheers designed to get the crowd involved. As a precursor to this week’s competition, both the dance team and cheerleading squads prepared and sent a tape of their routine to be judged against other schools in the preliminaries. The cheerleaders were also required to send footage of their squad leading the crowds of Bearkat fans at recent SHSU sporting events. According to Woodson, both teams placed high in this preliminary round allowing them to move on to the semi-finals. “I was pretty happy with how we placed in the tapings,” Woodson said. “Orange Pride placed third and the cheerleaders placed fifth out of all the schools in our division. That puts us in good position.”Woodson said after leaving town today, both teams will arrive in Orlando and compete in the semi-finals Friday. If they place high enough, both will also compete for the national championship in the finals to be held Saturday. Once the results are in, both the cheerleading and dance team competitions will be televised and can be seen on both ESPN and ESPN 2 later this year. Both teams have faired well at the National Championships in the past, often placing in the top five. The Bearkat cheerleaders placed as high as second in both 1999 and 2000 and Orange Pride won the national championship in 1998. With the weeks of rehearsals well behind her team, Woodson is confident that SHSU will be well represented in Florida this weekend.” We expect to do really well,” she said. “We’ve all worked really hard and now it’s just about going out there and getting it done.”

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