An array of cheers filled the Ocean Center on Thursday in Daytona Beach, Fla. as the Grambling State University cheerleaders took the stage at the National Cheerleading Association’s cheerleading competition.
The competition consists of about 140 teams from all over the nation competing to be judged on crowd involvement, choreography, technique and overall appearance.
The teams show off nothing less than their flashiest pyramids, best tumbling and most difficult stunts. The Tigers competed in Division 1 coed with schools such as University of Central Arkansas, Stephen F. Austin and Weber State, to name a few.
After competing, the Tigers watched other squads while waiting anxiously to receive the scores for Division 1 and hoping to place within the top four.
The top four teams at preliminaries automatically advance to the final competition round on Friday. The teams that do not place within the top four must compete in a challenge round to advance to finals.
After waiting patiently the Tigers were relieved to be announced as the third place team in the preliminary competition.
By Friday, the Tigers were the talk of the competition and the team to see. People from all over the world that did not even know where Grambling was, were all of a sudden Grambling Tiger fans.
Friday’s competition, held outside, was a bit more difficult. Friday’s competition was the time to shine. Every team brought their “A-Game.”
As the Tigers took the stage, the fans went wild. The routine started off great, but had a few shaky stunts.
Nevertheless, the Tigers pulled it together. At the end of the Division 1 competition the awards were announced.
The Grambling cheerleaders earned two trophies: fourth place in Division 1 and Most Innovative Choreography.
This is the highest that Grambling has placed at NCA nationals in the team’s 15- year history of competition, beginning in 1994.
Grambling is one of only two HBCUs to compete in the NCA national competition and the only HBCU in the coed division.
All of the hard work finally paid off.
According to Marcus Kennedy a third-year cheerleader, “Winning fourth place feels amazing. We brought a lot of skills and talent to the competition as the only HBCU coed squad. We put a lot of hard work, time, and dedication into our routine and we are honored to be 4th in the nation.”
Keshawn Roberts, one of the team’s top female performers, said, “It takes a lot of dedication having to support the other sports teams and practicing for competition too, but it gives us endurance and it is all worth it when it is time for competition.”
Kennedy believes that any Grambling cheerleader will definitely learn time management skills due to having to perform football season, basketball season, especially when there are basketball games and a football game the same week about mid-November, and also practicing for the team’s own competition.
So now the cheerleaders finally get a break? Or not. It is now time to get ready for tryouts.
Cheerleading tryouts will be held April 26. The team is looking for dedicated students who are willing to work and be coached. The workshop will be held April 20-24 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Anyone interested in trying out should pick up an application from Coach Terry Lilly in the Favrot Student Union or Cyril Burch’s office in the Office of Student Affairs in Grambling Hall.