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September 21, 2023

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Co-ed cheerleading team wins national championship

The Bowling Green State University cheerleading team stayed true to its mission statement and ‘found a way’ to win the co-ed national championship this past Saturday at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

“Our mission statement all year has been ‘find a way,’” junior Abbey Pilgrim said. “We had so many challenges and we were still able to do our routine well and complete our goal.”

The cheerleaders were given four days off the entire break, and they went through two-a-days which consisted of two three hour practices each day.

There were injuries and other obstacles the team had to overcome while preparing for nationals, Pilgrim said.

The team’s goal through the entire event wasn’t to win a national championship but to hit a technically clean routine.

“We were so happy after the routine ended because we knew we hit the routine the best we could,” Pilgrim said.

The Falcon co-ed team climbed from third place after the semifinals, among 21 cheers programs from around the country including Hofstra, Purdue, San Diego State, Rutgers, Colorado State, George Mason and Syracuse.

There were a total of nine teams in the finals that were fighting to stop Hofstra from winning its sixth championship in a row.

All 10 of the finalists were standing on the stage waiting for their name to be called and when Hofstra was called as runner up, a sense of shock hit the team, Pilgrim said.

“Hofstra is sort of a legend with five straight championships, nobody expects to beat them,” Pilgrim said. “It was a dream come true for us.”

Each of the teams were comprised of 16 performers and allowed one two minute and 30 second performance.

The team chooses its performance based on its skills. The coach takes each performer’s skills and puts them together around the end of September.

The Falcon’s all-girl cheer team were national finalists. The all-girl team competed at nationals for the first time and placed ninth out of 16 in the semifinals of the All-Girl D1A Division. The team missed the finals by less than a point.

“They have been working so hard all year,” All-girls competitor Brittany Lind said. “They wanted to come back and win after being so close last year and they did. We are so happy for them.”

The Falcons have been ranked in the top five for four consecutive years but this is the first time the team has broken through and won the national championship.

“Being in the top five has brought a lot of talented athletes and leaders to our program,” head cheerleading coach Anne Marie King said. “Winning a championship will continue to bring in quality members and out program will continue to grow in all aspects.”

The team will now enjoy a bit of a break before tryouts begin in the spring. After that, they will begin to prepare for football and defending their national championship again next year.

“We are so proud of our cheerleading squad,” University Director of Athletics Chris Kingston said in a press release. “We are very fortunate to have such talented student-athletes supporting BGSU Athletics.”

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