Cheerleaders place high at national competition

The Bearkat cheer and dance teams have, once again, succeeded at the national level.

The Sam Houston State University co-ed cheerleading squad earned third place at the national competition. The Orange Pride dance team brought home sixth place.

The 2007 Universal Cheerleaders and Dancers Collegiate National Championships were held in Orlando, Fla. from Jan. 12-15. For the cheerleading squad, this was their first third-place finish since 2000.

Spirit Programs Coordinator Jared King said, “The cheerleading squad has shown steady improvement by finishing ninth in 2005, sixth in 2006 and third in 2007. The dance team has been a top team over the past 10 years.”

Ashley Dickerson, captain of the co-ed cheerleading squad, attributed the squad’s success to the dedication of its veteran members.

She said, “We only lost three seniors to graduation and the new members came in and helped to build on what we already had last year.”

When campus emptied for the holiday break, the squad stayed behind.

They held two practices a day, Monday through Sunday, for a total of six hours a day.

To enter the collegiate championships, both teams had to submit a skills video and a crowd video.

The crowd video, filmed at SHSU events, showed both squads in action, while the skills video established the pre-tournament rankings.

Dickerson said, “Once the tapes were judged, we were in third place going into the tournament.”

King said, “We’re very proud of the accomplishments of both of these teams, as they competed against some of the best teams in the nation.”

Although Morehead State University took first place in the cheerleading competition, Dickerson remains hopeful about next year.

She said, “We’re always improving, we never back down and we keep training hard.”

The atmosphere in Orlando was electric and the tournament process went smoothly, according to Dickerson.

She said, “The team always has nerves but warm-ups went great and no one was doubtful.”

The Collegiate National Championships will be broadcast on ESPN in March, which will be an exciting moment for the squad members.

Dickerson said, “I’m proud to be seen on ESPN competing against the other great schools and representing Sam Houston. This is a great recruiting tool and will raise the school’s profile.”

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