Back to back national championships for All-Girl cheerleading

Layne Saliba

The Georgia Southern All-Girls Cheerleading Team won their second straight National Cheerleading Association Collegiate Championship on Friday. This year’s victory also marks their fifth National Championship in seven years.

“For the longest time, we couldn’t figure out who got second place because they say the city you’re from and then your school’s name. So the second that all of us didn’t hear the St- for second place, it was just screams, tackles and everything,” senior cheer captain Chloe Cotter said.

The team traveled to Florida last Wednesday to compete against teams like the University of Florida, Ohio State, East Carolina, Texas A&M and West Virginia. All the teams that showed up performed well, but the Eagles were the ones that came out on top for the second time in as many years.

Though the All-Girls squad did finish No. 1 at the end of the day, there was a deduction that made the final score a lot closer than they would have liked. A simple timing mistake could have knocked Georgia Southern out of the top spot, but they were able to complete the rest of their routine perfectly to remain at the top of the charts.

“I love seeing the girls win and seeing their success. There’s nothing like seeing them when their name is announced as champion and they realize that they just won. It’s really a special thing,” head cheer coach Barry Munkasy said.

This team has been working for months on one routine, making sure they have every step down for the few minutes that they have in front of the judges. They train by running the steps in Hanner Field House at every practice. They spend every day going through the full routine with all of the skills included. It was one of the hardest years that the team has had, but it all paid off in the end.

The team is not only training during practice, though. Something that makes the Georgia Southern cheerleaders different from a lot of others is that they cheer sideline as well as competition. Doing this enables them to strengthen their skills and stay in shape for competition.

Winning the NCA Championship is difficult. However, when there are five seniors on the 20-person team, it makes things a little easier. These five have been at Georgia Southern for four years. That means they have won the National Championship three times and they have three rings to show for it.

However, many people do not know about those rings because cheerleading gets overlooked most of the time. It is sometimes hard to deal with not receiving the recognition they feel that they deserve, but when they look down at their hand and see those rings, that hardship quickly fades away.

These girls all joined this team with one goal in mind – to win. They did not just come to college to cheer for the football and basketball teams. Although that is a part they love, they always have something bigger in mind.

“When it came time to do what we needed to do, we got it done. And it was so easy to be a part of. It was just a group of people trying to win a national championship. And we did it,” Cotter said.