CHEER: Squad to take on Nationals

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CHEER: Squad to take on Nationals

Ethan Dennis, [email protected]

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“U.L.M. Go, Hawks, go!” filled the ears of onlookers during halftime at Thursday’s women’s basketball game in the Fant-Ewing Colisuem .

In preparation for competing for the D1 All-Girl Cheerleading National title, the ULM cheerleaders have been having practice showcases at recent basketball games (Dec.30, Jan.5 and Jan.10).

Over the weekend of Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, ULM’s cheerleaders will compete in the UCA College National Championships in Orlando, Florida at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Having placed fourth in the all-girls division in 2015 and won Nationals three times in the past, the ULM Cheerleaders are looking to return to prior success, according to co-head coach Peaire Allison, who has coached for 10 years, this being his last.

To improve their chances at Nationals this year, the biggest thing the team changed was “incorporating workouts to make our girls stronger and in better shape. So this year, we have harder stunts, probably the hardest stunts since the year we got fourth in Nationals,” Allison said.

This is the last time senior communication major and co-head captain Ri’Charica Mack will compete, making this year extra important.

“I have competed three times with ULM at Nationals. Our routine is solid and probably one of the best routines that I have ever done, and I feel really good about it, so I know that we can hit and make it to finals,” Mack said.

Along with the ULM cheerleaders, a squad from Trinity Cheer Athletics performed to much applause. Mack who works as a tumbling instructor at Trinity Cheer Athletics enjoyed seeing the girls perform.

“They work very hard at the gym and their hard work showed when they performed. The performance was effective, because it helped them get their nerves out before they go and compete,” Mack said.

The Trinity Cheer Athletics girls aren’t the only ones who work hard; the ULM Cheerleaders have been hard at work since the end of finals week, according to freshman radiologic technology major and fellow cheerleader Blake Stone.

“These ladies have been working day in and day out on this routine. It would be an understatement to say these ladies have put their blood, sweat and tears into this routine this year, during the break,” Stone said. 

“During the break” refers to the twice a day, everyday, three-hour long practices the ULM cheerleaders have been enduring since Dec. 9.

“We don’t really have a break, honestly. We got off for Christmas from Dec. 22-26 and back on the 28th to practice again. And, we were off just for New Year’s Day and back to work,” Mack said.

Since ULM competes in the all-girl division, Stone won’t be competing. But, he had these words to say about his fellow squad:

“Seeing these ladies push themselves this past month has truly been an experience. The emotion behind it is very overwhelming considering that for a lot of them this will be their last time competing  with ULM at UCA Nationals.”

Immediately following their mini showcase, the cheerleaders went to practice to continue working, since the routine wasn’t perfect. Agricultural business junior Christion Jones attended the game and cheered on the squad during halftime.

“I feel if they practice some more, they can get it. I know with all the stunts it can be a little hard, but our cheerleaders won’t let us down,” Jones said about the upcoming competition.

The ULM cheerleaders host their last showcase on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. in Fant-Ewing Coliseum. Admission to the event is free to everyone.