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High Flyers

Cheer team places 4th at nationals

The cheer team poses at the beach. Courtesy photo.
The cheer team poses at the beach. Courtesy photo.

Lamar University’s Cheer Team competed at their first National Cheer Association and Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship, April 11-12, in Daytona Beach, Fla., and brought home much more than awards.

“As we sat on the stage, all I could think of was how blessed we were to be there,” coach Megan Thompson said. “So many before us never got to be there. We showed up and showed out and really set a standard.”

The team performed during two days of competition. Senior Shelby Green said the team’s first performance wasn’t their best, but as the competition progressed, the team stepped up.

“I learned to live in the moment,” she said. “The second day we had to throw away all the nerves and all the fears. We went out there and had fun, and it was probably the best performance we have had. That first performance definitely fueled our fire. We knew we could go out there and give so much more.”

After the first performance, in order to build up the team and make sure they went in to the second day confident, a last-minute practice was called to polish the routine and ease nerves.

“I came up with this idea to make a small adjustment,” captain Bryce Barlow said. “I sent out a text message for the team to get changed and meet so we can practice. I went in there knowing I had to set the tone.”

At the end of the first day, the team was awarded fourth place and got to advance to finals. On the second day, they came out with the same result, a spot in the top five.

Members of the LU cheer program give the “L’s Up” sign during national competition in Daytona Beach, Fla., April 12.

Members of the LU cheer program give the “L’s Up”

sign during national

competition in Daytona Beach, Fla., April 12.

“I was thrilled,” Barlow said. “We did our personal best. We wanted to peak at nationals, and we did.”

Barlow has experience with NCA, not as a competitor, but as part of the staff, helping the competitions run smoothly. He said he tried to look at his team with an outsider’s perspective to help them improve before contest.

“I knew how I can help their choreography,” he said. “I knew what needed to be done to improve their score sheet and what tools I can provide to them in order for them to succeed.”

This is Thompson’s first year as coach, and as an alumni of the program, she said she understands what it is like to wish to be on stage at the most prestigious college cheer competition.

“I remember what it felt like to have the drive,” she said. “I am so thankful to have the opportunity to bring them there. It felt better than it would have if I were an athlete.”

Green said this year’s team is paving the way for future teams to have the same experience and to ensure Lamar’s presence at CCDC.

“We were all just glad that we were the first team from Lamar, and we went there and gave it our all,” Green said. “Teams that have gone there for years didn’t even scratch top five and we made it to fourth place. It was an amazing feeling. I am so proud.”

Category: Sports