Lander University’s All Girl Competition Team
By Ariel Sheares
Competition cheerleading is slowly making a name in the sports industry. Just this year Olympic Sports has recognized cheerleading as a sport, which we could possible see as an event in the upcoming 2020 Olympics. ESPN has been covering major competitions in the cheerleading world such as the World Championship of All Star Cheerleading, UCA College Nationals, NCA College Nationals, and a few others. Many teams practice all year for the chance to shine and impress the judges. These teams just have 2 minutes and 15 seconds to show the judges they have what it takes. Competitive cheerleading is a world filled with high-flying stunts, pyramids, powerful tumbling and tight synchronization. For Lander University’s All Girl competition team, the season is just beginning.
The program is growing bigger and better every year, bringing in girls from well-known high school programs across the state. The team has become very focused and has had some long hard practices that have tested them mental and physically. Many of these girls will tell you that if practice is from 7 pm to 9 pm. It really means seven until it’s perfect. For the 20 girls that are on the mat the time does not faze them. “We may be here until 11 pm at night, but if staying here until then gets my team to finals then I’m willing to sacrifice some of my beauty sleep,” says one of the sophomore team members. To compete it’s all about hitting a clean routine, having fun, and representing their University on a national level.
The team still has some time before their big début in Daytona with some new skills and tricks up their sleeves. The team is excited for the new and old competitors. As well as the experiences this year will bring. Kyle Coopwood stated, “Being on the competition team is an amazing experience. And being able to do it with a team that isn’t just a team more like your family… You can’t beat that feeling.”
After sitting down with a few members of the team one thing’s for certain. The ultimate goal for this team is to take home first place in Daytona Florida, at NCA College Nationals. The team has made their debut to Daytona only three times and is a force to be reckoned with. They finished their season in 11th place out of 23 teams. The team will be hitting practice harder than ever this season and is ready to show the Lander community what they have to bring.