Cheer takes 1st place at national competition

Zoe Sissac, Opinion Editor

On April 8, the ULM cheerleading team made history by winning a fifth national title at the College Classic All-Girls Cheer Championship. Competing against Baker University, ULM came out on top of the pyramid with an eight-point lead.    

“When the announcer said our name for the first-place title, I finally understood why we endured those late-night practices, early-morning workouts and countless challenges,” captain Regan Digilormo said. Digilormo has been a member of ULM’s cheer program for the past four years. 

The team practices all year for one two-and-a-half-minute performance. On the brightly-lit stage of the Orange County Convention Center, the cheerleaders have only one chance to perform their routine flawlessly. The exhausting practices and painful injuries have all led up to this one moment. 

For their performance, the girls must complete an array of difficult skills and tricks. The judges expect the cheerleaders to stick complicated tumbling passes and land high-caliber stunts. The most difficult trick, the pyramid, is a staple at collegiate cheer competitions, determining which teams are champions and which teams go home empty-handed. 

“Most of the girls who make the ULM cheerleading team are the best where they come from, but nothing prepares you for cheering at the collegiate level,” coach Sammi Spivey said. “These athletes started the year off knowing nothing about collegiate cheer and ended proving they could execute skills that were far beyond our reach when we began.” 

The title of national champion was not earned easily. The ULM cheer program faced several challenges when preparing to compete in nationals. Starting the season with 23 members, injuries and routine adjustments resulted in only 14 members competing in nationals. 

“We overcame these challenges by working together as a family and knowing that we are not alone and that we can always rely on each other,” captain Kayla LaCoste said. “Even when our body had enough, our mindset as a team was to do our jobs to not let each other down. That’s how we became so successful this season.” Kayla LaCoste is a fifth-year member of ULM’s cheer program, serving as the team’s captain. 

The ULM cheer program ended a historic season, wearing championship rings and carrying a trophy. 

“This is the greatest comeback story I have ever witnessed,” Spivey said.