Over the weekend, the Weber State University Spirit Squad traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, where they earned two national titles.
The Weber State cheer squad won the Division I Coed National Championship title and placed fifth in the partner stunts.
“Winning the trophy at Weber’s tenth year anniversary of coming to this competition was so great,” Mckell Gunderson said. “Coming off of the mat knowing we hit a zero deduction routine with the people I care the most about was an indescribable feeling.”
The Weber State dance team won the Division I Hip Hop National Championship and took eighth place with their jazz routine.
“It feels amazing to win,” Kenzie Firth said. “We did not expect the outcome that we received. After a long, hard year, all we wanted was to be confident and have a happy ending. The feeling of our name being called as the national title winners — it was completely surreal.”
The Weber State dance team has never taken home the national title.
“Being able to win with this team was so special because of the love we share for dance and each other,” Kai Oda said.
Last year, the Wildcats traveled to Anaheim, California, to compete in the USA Collegiate Championship, where the cheer team took first place, and the dance team placed in the open dance division. The cheer team also had five partner pairs compete in the partner stunt division, where the team swept the competition, taking all five places.
The Wildcats then went to the NCA College National Championship, where the cheer squad lost by 0.2 points and took home the second place prize. The dance team placed fourth in hip hop and sixth in jazz.
The Wildcats began preparing for this competition season in early July. For extra practice, the team performed at most home athletic events and often traveled with teams to support them on the road.
“Competition season is literally putting in so many hours of work everyday just to compete once, maybe twice, if you’re lucky,” Ashley Tebbs said. “When we do compete, we have to leave it all on the mat. It’s not like basketball or football where you can win the next game to make up for the loss. There is no next time. It is all or nothing.”
Being able to showcase their skills on a national stage is a huge milestone for the majority of the cheerleaders.
“National is so emotional,” Lee said. “The ocean is to the left of the mat, and you are up on a huge stage doing what you love for people who have the same passion. They are all cheering for you, and the adrenaline is unreal. It gets me so pumped up, and it is seriously one of the most amazing feelings.”
After eight long years, the Wildcats will bring the NCA National Title back to Ogden.
“Running into the ocean hand in hand with my team after the win was the best way to end a challenging, rewarding and successful year,” Gunderson said.