Cheer team takes three-peat championship in Daytona

For the third straight year, California Baptist University’s cheerleading team brought home the National Cheerleaders Association championship title, making the Lancers the first all-women team in history to win three consecutive titles.

The women knew they would be up against stiff competition seeing as they are the defending champions. There was knowledge that every team would come to Daytona Beach, Florida, with the intention of keeping CBU from winning again.

As a result, the women had to bring everything they had and leave it all on the mat.

Over the three-day competition, April 9-11, CBU struggled in a few small areas. On Friday, the preliminary and qualifying rounds were held to determine which teams would advance to the championship round the next day.

The cheer team was the first on the floor during the preliminary round. Although the first slot was not ideal, they performed 45 seconds of a normal game-day routine to get the crowd and the judges excited.

During their regular preliminary performance April 9, the Lancers struggled, but were able to finish with a score of 93.55, which put them in first heading into the championship round Friday.

Going into the championship performance, the Lancers were determined to refine all of the difficulties in their routine and approach the competition floor with confidence. Being the last team for their division to perform, they wanted to end the night on a high note.

Narrowly beating out the runner-up team from University of Central Oklahoma by two points, the Lancers came in first with a score of 94.58, effectively making history as the only All-Girl Division II team to win a third title. The Lancers are now undefeated since 2013.

Tami Fleming, head coach of the cheerleading team, said it was the team’s motto of passion, God and success that pushed the Lancers to their third title.

“The season was filled with ups and downs but in the end, the girls came together and focused on the job that needed to be done,” Fleming said. “I am immensely proud of each and every athlete in the program and the way they contributed to the team’s success. To be the first team in history to ever win three national titles back-to-back-to-back in DII is something no one can ever take away from us.”

In addition to the entire cheer team performing, for the first time in history CBU entered an all-girl stunt group at the NCA college nationals. The stunt group, composed of Katarina McKnight, sophomore accounting major; Briana Davee, sophomore nursing major; Taylor Hendrickson, sophomore kinesiology major; and Raven Rivera, sophomore biology major, aimed for a top-10 finish and accomplished their goal by placing eighth.

“It was an amazing experience being able to represent our school in the stunt group competition,” Hendrickson said. “And winning that three-peat was an indescribable feeling. The first all-girl team to win three times in their division. The hard work was definitely worth it.”

The Lancers look forward to what the next year holds as they will soon begin preparation for the 2016 season and NCA championship to see if they can build on their record.

About Grace Allen

Sports Editor

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