April 7, 2017
Texas Tech Cheer
in Daytona Beach
Courtesy: Texas Tech Cheerleaders
NOTE: See team galleries below.
Add two more national championships to the trophy case for Texas Tech University.
The Texas Tech Cheer and Pom squads both earned titles on Friday at the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Association Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Cheer squad captured the crown in the Co-Ed Cheer category, surging from third place behind Oklahoma State University and the University of Louisville after the first round to first place on Friday, capturing the first national championship in co-ed cheer in school history.
"This is amazing," cheer coach Bruce Bills said. "I think it proves we can do this and we can compete with the best teams in the country. Our students do a great job with being an ambassador for the university all year and this was their time to shine."
Bills said the 20-member cheer squad had a couple of minor hiccups in its routine on Thursday but was able to clean those up quickly and performed a clean routine on Friday.
"I just wanted them to go out, have fun and showcase their skills like I knew they could," said Bills, who is in his fifth season as the squad's head coach.
Other finalists in the cheer competition included the University of Missouri, the University of South Carolina, Fresno State University and New Mexico State University.
Texas Tech Pom
at the Spring Game in Dallas
Courtesy: Texas Tech Pom Squad
The pom squad followed suit by taking the crown in the Dance Jazz Division IA category, moving past Penn State in Friday's finals.
The win was the completion of a yearlong journey for the pom squad, which finished second last year by just .14 points.
"We talked about this a lot this season, and our motto has been 'We Before Me,'" said Erin Alvarado, the sixth-year pom squad head coach. "They really latched on to that, and last night we spent time talking to them about being competitive and being confident. Some things you can't control and some things you can like chemistry and attitude. We feel our chemistry and our relationship with one another on the floor is what pushed us over the top today."
That sentiment, she said, was reinforced by one of the comments from the judges, who complimented the pom squad not only on its dancing ability but its cohesiveness as a team.
The 30-member pom squad trailed only Penn State University after Thursday's first round by less than .03 points. But with its routine on Friday, Texas Tech finished with a 9.706 while Penn State was second at 9.591.
"Last night we stayed up until after midnight fixing the things the judges told us to fix, and we focused on what we could control," said Alvarado, who also complimented the work of choreographer Shannon Sandvik in helping the squad earn the award for most creative choreography as well.
The other finalists in the Dance Jazz Division IA category were South Carolina, the University of Massachusetts, Florida State University, Clemson University, the University of Connecticut, the University of South Alabama, Michigan State University, Arkansas State University and Western Michigan University.
"We made history today," said Stephanie Rhode, Spirit Program director at Texas Tech. "It's not often you have a dance team and the cheer squad win a championship at the same time."
The Texas Tech Spirit Program is part of the Center for Campus Life office, a division of Undergraduate Education & Student Affairs.
The Spirit Squads lead the fans in supporting the teams at football, basketball, and volleyball games. They serve as ambassadors not only at athletic events, but also at many different school functions. In addition, the Spirit Squads gladly participate in their community by volunteering at local schools, charity events, and youth organizations.
Being a proud part of the Texas Tech Spirit Program is more than just a year-round commitment. It means dedication from each member to maintain the school spirit of the students, the alumni, and the fans.