Cheer team leads MAC schools at national competition
Central Michigan's cheer team finished seventh in the Division I Small Co-Ed United Cheerleaders Association College Nationals in Orlando, Florida last weekend.
Teams are placed in the same division as their football program, which is why the cheerleading team competes against Division I opponents.
The Chippewas scored above an 80 in the semifinals and a 79.5 in the finals.
Scores are out of 100 and are earned in different ways. Points are scored on pyramids, tosses, tumbling and other stunts.
“I thought they did an amazing job overall," said Head Coach Nicky Van. "This was my first year coming down and they did phenomenal.”
Van was unable to join the team last year due to a death in the family.
“I have a lot of mixed feelings about it," Van said. "It was definitely an emotional, crazy and fun experience.”
Without having other competitions during the year, Van and his team had to decide if it was worth competing in nationals.
Van had to determine the skill of his team, the level of camaraderie and its chances of placing in the competition. Team members also had to be willing to put in the work to be competition-ready.
“I would only enter if I felt our team was worthy of going,” Van said. “We aren’t just representing ourselves, we are representing our school.”
Team members had to sacrifice time at home for winter break to practice. Van said the team went through many two-a-days and late nights to prepare for competition.
“Rookies had to miss time with their families, especially during Christmas and Thanksgiving, which was a huge sacrifice to make in their first year at college,” Van said.
Hofstra University took first place in the Division I Small Co-Ed Division. CMU topped all other Mid-American Conference teams, including Ball State (eighth) and Akron (ninth).