SEU cheer competes nationally for third consecutive year


Courtesy of SEU Cheer

The SEU cheer squad during their National’s performance.

The SEU cheer team competed at the Universal Cheer Association (UCA) National Championships hosted at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 19. This year commemorated the 25th anniversary of the UCA National Championships being held in Orlando.

In preparation for nationals, the cheerleaders worked on learning new skills and expertise to perform at the competition. They had only one week off for the holidays and were required to be on campus preparing for the competition the rest of winter break.

“I help prepare them for nationals by planning and conducting all practices, making sure that I put them into possible competition scenarios while at the same time increasing their endurance,” Talia Russell, head coach of the team, said.

According to the team, the physical and mental preparation for nationals took a toll on their bodies. Practices exhausted their bodies but it’s what the team says they expected if that’s what it took to compete at their full potential.

“When people look at you, they see the makeup and the smiles but underneath our sleeves are bruises. It’s a really intense sport,” Maddie Ashworth, senior base, said.

Along with experienced members, there were many new recruits who attended nationals this year. Newcomers were able to experience first-hand what it’s like competing on a national stage.

“There were cheerleaders everywhere so of course I was nervous, but I also had a feeling of security because everyone there loves doing the same thing,” Victoria Rivera, first-year base, said.

“My favorite part of the competition was getting to bond with the team. Everyone was really nervous, but the fact that we had each other made everything a lot less scary. We leaned on each other for support and made sure everyone was okay,” Rivera said.

An important aspect to cheerleading is being able to respond to change and work together as a team to become the best they can possibly be. Cheer is much more than cheering people on in the sidelines. The team is bestowed with the incredible honor to represent the university with something important to them.

The team had two very important injuries occur before leaving for nationals. One injury occurred one week before and the other occurred a few days before leaving. Losing two of their teammates was a huge blow to the team, but they were able to develop a new routine before departing to Orlando.

“We did very well with a few falls which is never what you want, but we left the mat knowing we gave everything that we could,” Ashworth said.

Russell believes that the cheer team’s resiliency demonstrates commendable qualities. “Seeing all of our hard work unfold on the mat reminds me that all of the hours put in preparing for nationals was worth it,” Russell said.

“We went out there and left our hearts on the mat,”Rivera said.