Cheerleading Finishes Fifth at Nationals
February 9, 2017
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Cheerleaders finished fifth in the the Universal Cheerleading Association College National Championship in Orlando, Florida over break, and they returned home with an experience that most teams never never have.
“The week we spend together from sun up to sun down, and it only brings us closer. The night before our national’s performance we all sit in the hotel room and go around sharing our favorite part of the team. Although this can be emotional, it is probably one of my favorite memories we have together. We not only learn what the definition of teamwork is but also understand what it’s like to do it for the person next to you and come together like the big family we are,” said sophomore nursing major Alexa Malloy.
Sophomore Stephanie Monforte said the team competed against very talented cheerleaders.
“Competing at nationals is a very intimidating experience but definitely one that is worthwhile. You have to perform in front of hundreds of people that you can’t really see very well and have faith and confidence that you’re going to hit your routine,” said Monforte. “Despite all the preparation and work you put in leading up to nationals anything can happen during the two minutes and thirty seconds that you’re on that mat. Overall though, whatever happens it’s still an incredible bonding experience for the team.”
The women competed in the open division and placed behind The College of New Jersey, Avila University, Suffolk County Community College, and the first place finishers, Nassau Community College. The championship was televised on the ESPN network.
Sophomore Samantha Miller said it was nice to know that everyone was able to watch and enjoy the team’s hard work.
“There is really nothing like competing at the college national championship. The amount of teams and spectators there, is astonishing,” Miller said. “The adrenaline rush you get on the mat is so intense. That is what I look forward to most when we go to Disney World. I enjoy just showing the world what we worked so hard on.”
The women had finished in fourth place last year, but Miller said there is something special about this year’s team.
“I think this year the team is really talented. I think this every year, but this team’s growth has been tremendous. Not only does this team have so much talent, but we really are a sisterhood. We like to say, ‘you got me. I got us.’ It is really comforting to know that if we are going through a tough time, we have 22 sets of hands who are always there for us.”
The team is important to each member but for Malloy it means a little extra.
“I am an only child, and before I came to school I would feel lonely at times. I never regret joining cheerleading, and I do not know what I would do without these girls in my life. They are my everything and are the sisters I only wished and dreamed of having.”
Miller said that this year’s team was something very special that they shouldn’t take for granted.
“We really bonded as a team both before going to Florida and while we were down there. It is amazing how you spend so much time with the team at camp and preseason, but you don’t really get to know everyone,” Miller said. “I think this year especially, there is really a connection between all of us.”
The cheerleaders are done with competitions for the season, . They will continue to cheer on the university’s basketball teams for the remainder of their respective seasons but that doesn’t mean the women aren’t practicing to improve.
“I am excited to cheer on the basketball team for the rest of their season,” said Monforte, “I am also very excited to work on new skills with the team and try new stunts. I can’t wait to see what new stuff we can master and put into our routine for next year.”
The NCAA still does not recognize cheerleading as a competitive sport, so the team is part of the UCA, which is a separate organization founded in 1974 by Jeff Webb. The UCA holds both National high school cheerleading championships and the College National championships. Both events are hosted at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.