By Sierra Whitten
Both the Lafayette High School cheer squad and dance team are fired up to be competing in the 2020 UCA Nationals. Both teams scored high enough at regionals in 2019 to secure a bid.
The dance team takes the stage Saturday, Feb. 1 at 5:34 p.m., and the cheer squads follow the next Friday, Feb. 7 at 8:54 a.m. Both teams are joining the middle school cheer squad will take the mat on Feb. 7 at 1:22 p.m. in the search for a national title. This is the first time in school history that all three teams will attend the national competition.
This isn’t the cheer squad’s first rodeo at UCA Nationals. They attended the competition last year, but for this year, they are going in as a smaller but stronger team.
“The decrease in size has allowed us to focus on our skill level more, as well as our overall energy,” said spirit coordinator Alecia Massey Russell.
The cheer squad will participate in the Game Day Division of the competition which focuses on all aspects of traditional cheering. The team will show the judges how they keep Lafayette fans pumped by showcasing their traditional band chat, sideline skills, and crowd-leading material.
LHS dance coach Stephanie Neely said the dance team has been working hard to get where they are now.
“It means the world to me that this team received a bid to Nationals this year,” she said. “For many of these girls, these have been the biggest competitions in which they have been involved. At the beginning of the year, I knew we would have a long way to go, but the girls were willing to put in the work and they made it happen.”
For junior Sydney Pace said this season came together when the squad competed in the UDA Game Day Division.
“Making it to the UDA Nationals is every high school dancers dream,” Pace said. “Throughout the year, we had our ups and downs during practice but the amount of hard work finally paid off as we competed in the Game Day Division at Jackson, Ms.”
All the Commodore squads are like family, encouraging and supporting each other in everything they do, according to varsity cheer sponsor Bridget Hancock. She also mentioned that the squads could not have done this alone. She attributes a big part of the program’s success to support from the LOU community.
The cheer squads will begin their journey to the ESPN Wide World of Sports located at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida next Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Hottytoddy.com sports editor Adam Brown contributed to this report