Cheering and dancing in Daytona

Tomorrow the BGSU co-ed and women’s cheerleading squads will be competing at the National Cheerleading Association College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Joining them will be the Falcon dance team, who will be competing for the National Dance Association.

This is the first year that the women’s cheerleading squad and dance team will participate in this competition. Last year, the co-ed cheerleading squad was invited to compete, where they finished 11th out of 15 in their division.

The co-ed and dance teams received bids to nationals after attending a NCA college cheerleading camp in the summer of 2005. The women’s cheerleading squad received its bid in December 2005, after its try-out in fall 2005.

Competition for all teams will be composed of a 2:15 routine. For the cheerleading squad, this means elements of tumbling, baskets, stunts, and a mount sequence with jumps, dance and motion. The dance team must incorporate hip-hop, jazz and pom – fast-paced cheerleading movements – into their routine.

‘The skills are all there between both squads,’ assistant cheerleading coach Mandy Dragon said. ‘Now it is a matter of maintaining endurance throughout the routines.’

As members of separate teams, the cheerleaders and dancers play two separate roles on behalf of the University.

They are crowd leaders for BG teams during games and represent the Falcons in their competition. Though the cheer and dance teams are new to the competition aspect of their respective programs, competing will be continued in the future for the cheer and dance teams.

‘Competition presents a different dynamic,’ head cheerleading coach Valerie Bullard said. ‘It is more about the athleticism and the ‘wow factor’ of cheerleading.’

In hopes of ‘wowing’ the judges tomorrow, the cheerleaders put in extra time to prepare for the competition.

‘They [cheerleaders] call me and ask me to add practices to the schedule,’ Bullard said. ‘ I think when you invest yourself that much, only great things can derive from that.’

The teams have many goals for tomorrow’s competition. Among these are making it to the final competition on Friday and gaining recognition on behalf of BGSU.

‘All three squads have a great relationship and are hoping to use this experience as another opportunity for team-building,’ Dragon said.

When it comes down to it, there is one thing resting on the success of the cheer and dance teams during competition, and that is teamwork. All three teams work together, allowing them to shine both in and out of the spotlight

‘We have accomplished so much, and it is all being shown in our nationals routine,’ dance captain Adrienne Sleet said. ‘We are very proud to be able to represent BGSU and show the nation just how dedicated and passionate our three teams from Northwest Ohio really are.’