Cheer makes a splash at Daytona Beach

The 2018-2019 competitive cheerleading team wrapped up their season ranking top five in the nation.

The team recently traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, to compete in the National Collegiate Cheerleading Championships (NCCC) hosted by the National Cheerleading Association (NCA).

Stevenson’s cheer team celebrated their fifth-place win at Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Claudia Tonti)

“We practiced hard this season for Nationals, and hearing our name in the top five made it all worth it,” said junior Tori Gibson.

On April 3, the group of 16 began their journey at 3:30 a.m. to BWI for a 6 a.m. flight to Orlando, Florida. Once they landed in Orlando, they traveled by bus for two hours to Daytona Beach, Florida where they immediately began practices in preparation to compete.

On Thursday, April 4, the team performed a perfect routine during prelims and scored 91.13— the highest score in mustang history followed by a score of 89.75 in 2017. This score carried the team into finals at fifth place – the highest placement in school history. On Friday April 5, the team performed another nearly perfect routine, receiving zero deductions. This performance allowed the team to hold on to their fifth-place spot with an overall score of 91.17 — again, the highest placement and score in school history.

“What a great way to end my senior year and last year of cheerleading ever with making Stevenson history,” said senior Kendall Rodier.

This accomplishment follows the team’s victory in summer 2018 when they traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for NCA camp and won a gold-bid invitation to participate in the national championship The competition. This was the first time the team received a bid above the bronze level.

SU cheer team shows off their pyramid at Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Claudia Tonti)

“Summer camp was the foundation of our season. We bonded together, sweat together, practiced together, and it all led to up to us winning together,” said freshman Hayley Wingo.

The 2018-2019 team is led by three former SU cheerleaders: Rachel Smith, class of 2015; Jess Arminio, class of 2016; and Fya Powell, who attended the university from 2011 to 2015.

“The coaching staff was really blown away by all we were able to achieve this year. This was the best team to come through Stevenson, and they really set the tone for the future of the program. None of this would have been possible without the dedication of the athletes, support of their parents and our alumni who all donated time and funds in support of our journey. The team gave it their all every step of the way whether it was a 6 a.m. conditioning class, a 9 p.m. tumbling session, or a 12-hour fundraiser and the results are proof,” said head coach Rachel Smith.

The Mustangs are hoping to continue their winning streak, add to the team and compete at higher levels.

The Stevenson dance team also competed alongside the cheer team at Daytona Beach in the National Dance Alliance (NDA). The team advanced to finals and placed seventh in the competition.

For more information, follow their Instagram page @stevenson_cheerleading or contact head coach Rachel Smith through campus email.

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