The cheerleading squad was practicing what they preach when they aggressively won two bids to National Cheerleaders Association: College Nationals after competing against schools across the country.
The competitions took place during the National Cheerleaders Association camp last month at Northwest Missouri State University. The squad earned a silver and a bronze bid.
Meredith Hughes is the oldest active member of the cheer squad and she spends most of her time helping the younger girls learn the cheers.
“This is my fourth year on the cheer squad,” Hughes said. “The NCA Nationals is a huge cheer competition between squads from different schools. You technically have to get a bid to get into the NCA.”
Hughes noted that this is the first time Western has ever received a bid for a national competition.
“We went to one of the NCA camps at Northwest. These camps are spread around the country and the NCA visits them,” Hughes said.
Hughes explained that there were different divisions in the competition and her squad competed with others from small schools.
“You’re in different individual sections,” Hughes said. “There’s DII, then DI and there is also small squad and large squad. Since we are a small squad, we had four other schools in our division.”
All cheer squads were taught cheers, techniques and ways to be energetic at the camps. Then they had to compete to show the association what they had learned.
“The NCA taught us new stunts and cheers,” Hughes said. “We got judged on our spirit, sharpness and voice and they totaled all of those scores.”
Since the squad placed in the competition, they received money.
“First place gets $10,000, and second place gets $5,000,” Hughes said. “We got our $5,000 bid from being the most improved squad. They give that to each camp they go to. Whoever they believe improved the most from the first day of camp to the last day of camp gets that bid.”
The bid is money you receive to go to Nationals.
“So overall, we got around $7,000 dollars to go to Nationals,” Hughes said. “It’s going to be around $17,000 for the whole squad to go.”
The Nationals are held in Daytona, Fla., from April 8-12.
Katie Griffith has been with the squad for three years now and she feels that the squad will compete fearlessly when they get to Nationals.
“I think we are going to do really good at Nationals,” Griffith said. “We will be competing against a lot of squads, but I think it’s just good to go for the experience.”