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Liberty Cheerleading Finishes 6th at Nationals

January 25, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Competing in its third straight Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) College National Championship this past weekend in Orlando, Fla., the Liberty cheerleading squad placed sixth out of 24 teams in the Small Coed Division I portion of the event. Below is a first-hand account from head coach Jenny Sydnor, detailing the events of the weekend.

Our cheerleading team traveled to Orlando, Fla. to compete in the UCA National Championship.  The trip began on Friday Jan. 18. We were supposed to drive down to Greensboro on Thursday to be there for our flight Friday morning. Not knowing the weather had gotten so bad so quickly, we were told at 7 p.m. Thursday night that we were not allowed to travel to Greensboro that night for our flight. We were then told later that night we could not go anywhere until 11 a.m. Friday morning. 

On Friday morning, I was able to secure a bus to drive us to Orlando, because we had missed our flight and there were no other means by which to get us there! After 14 hours of driving, we arrived at 2 a.m. Saturday morning, missing our scheduled practice time at the competition site earlier that day. 

Despite the obstacle we faced in getting to Florida, our team pulled together with more unity and determination than they have had all semester! They were excited to be able to go, so grateful to Liberty for providing a way for us to get there, and were determined to do well despite the challenges!

The competition day began for us at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. We began with breakfast and a team devotion. We then took some time for practice outside our hotel on the turf before heading over for team pictures and an official warm-up. 

At 10:43 a.m. we took the mat for our timed warm-up time.  Their warm-up was great! They felt prepared, excited and determined! At 11:08 a.m. they took to the competition mat and nailed their routine with no drops and no major mistakes! After the preliminary round, we had to wait for the announcement of who made it to the finals. 

There were 24 teams in our division. Our division is named small coed (because we compete only 4 males on the floor) Division I (because of our school size). Out of 24 teams in this very tough division, only 12 made it to the finals and we came out ranked 9th in the preliminary round! We then had to draw a number for which order we would compete in the finals and we drew No. 10. 

After lunch and a little time of rest, we warmed back up outside, went over the corrections we wanted to make in the final round, did a little bit of mental practice, then took to the warm-up mat again that afternoon. At 3:18 p.m. we took to the competition mat in the final round of competition. After another great routine with even more enthusiasm than the first, we finished 6th place in the nation! 

Additional Quotes from Sydnor
"I am beyond excited about how well my team performed this weekend and so proud of how they handled a challenging situation! They displayed determination and enthusiasm while staying unified with one goal in mind. We give God the glory first and foremost for everything.  Without Him we would not have made it to Florida and we would not be able to do as well as we did. One thing we talk about is that our talents are God's gift to us, but what we do with those talents are our gifts back to God."

"We also are so grateful for an awesome athletic department and University that worked tirelessly to help us arrange alternate transportation to Florida. Without these special people we would not have made it!"

"As always we are so proud to represent Liberty University on the national level. We are humbled and grateful for this opportunity and there is nothing we love more than to make our University and athletic department proud."

"Our program has grown so much over the last few years and we are so excited to continue to see growth and improvement in the coming years. I have no doubt we will continue to climb the national ranks!"