ODU Cheer Takes Home NCA Championship
Brittany Reigelsperger | Contributing Writer
The Old Dominion Spirit Squad Cheerleading Team made history on Friday. The team traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida for the two-day competition and returned as the NCA (National Cheerleaders Association) Intermediate All-Girl 1A National Champions.
Head coach Carmen Harris and assistant coach Dr. Melvin Farland took over the Spirit Squad in 2013. It has been the goal of both coaches to transform ODU’s Cheer and Dance team from sideline-based to competition-focused. They led the Cheer team to the national competition in 2015, but were eliminated after one day of competing. They would not return to Daytona Beach for the 2016 championship in part due to their poor performance at the 2015 competition and also not being able to obtain a higher paying bid at a championship qualifying camp.
Harris and her 26 student-athletes, however, worked tirelessly through the summer preparing for this moment in earning a Silver Paid Bid at the NCA college team qualifying camp.
“Two years ago was very beneficial for them. They’ve been there and down that now and have a completely different outlook on the competition,” Harris said.
The 26-member team range from freshmen to veteran seniors with varying majors but despite their differences, they came out on top. On the first day of competition, the Lady Monarchs finished in third place with a score of 91.7 on a 100-point scale after losing a few points for dropping a few stunts throughout the routine. All routines are scored on the same aspects including pyramids, stunts, jumps and tumbling.
“Coming off the floor knowing we just hit our routine at finals was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. After we finished with the pyramid, the entire team started screaming with excitement. Some of us were even tearing up on the floor. When we ran off the floor to meet our coaches, we were all hugging and crying together out of relief and excitement. Hearing our coaches say how proud of us they were was truly an emotional moment, especially for me. Taking home the national championship trophy was the icing on the cake to mark the end of my cheerleading career,” senior captain Rachel Ayers said.
In day two of competition, ODU Cheer surpassed eight other teams and scored a 93 sealing their first place finish. Other notable schools that competed in this division were The Ohio State University (second), Georgia Southern University (third), Michigan State University (fourth), and Texas A&M (fifth).
ODU Cheer and Dance Squads will hold tryouts for the upcoming season later this spring. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Congratulations to the 2016-17 Spirit Squad Cheerleading Team members on their magnificent accomplishments: Baliee Adams, Victoria Ashnault; Tashauna Augustine; Rachel Ayers; Jaimie Belch; Kenyatta Boddie; Cayla Boykins; Taylor Cross; Briana Davis; Meredith Fiskus; Kia Hill; Desa Horsford; Tabetha House; Kymeshia Jefferson; Melissa Kenny; Summer Lena; Sydney Martin; Madison McNicholas; Madison Permian; Ashley Porter; Cameron Prentiss; Morgan Rhodes; Diamond Rice; Briana Roberts; Courtney Rojas; Dari Sirles; Makhalia Taliaferro Bibbs; Jasmine Waller; Diona West and Markisha Woodley.