The Texas Tech Pom and Co-Ed Cheer squads earned first- and second-place wins, respectively, at the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships.
Texas Tech University's Pom and Co-Ed Cheer squads, part of the university's Spirit Program, competed today (April 9) at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) & National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Pom Squad finished in first place in both the Division IA Pom category and the Division IA Dance Jazz category, while the Co-Ed Cheer Squad took second place in the Co-Ed Cheer category, falling behind Oklahoma State University by one point.
This is the sixth national title for the Pom Squad, three for pom and three for jazz. It finished first in jazz in 2017 and 2018 and first in pom in 2018, the first year the squad competed in the pom category.
“This has been such a long time coming for us,” said Erin Alvarado, head coach of the pom squad. “It's so emotional after what happened last year with nationals being canceled because of COVID-19. We also switched choreographers and I thought, ‘Am I doing the right thing?' It's amazing to be recognized, especially after taking a risk in Jazz. We three-peated in Pom. I'm so proud of this team with all they overcame this year. For the first three months, we practiced via Zoom. We didn't start practicing together as a full team until March. This team has shown so much resiliency. They deserve these championships.”
The Co-Ed Cheer Squad has finished in the top three throughout the past decade, including winning the national championship for the first time in school history in 2017 and earning the crown a second time in 2019.
“This one routine doesn't define us or the year,” said Bruce Bills, head cheer and mascot coach. “It's not the ending or result we wanted, but things happen. I'm proud of this squad. We're thankful for the support we received from family, friends and fans, and we'll use this as motivation to claim the title next year.”
After the preliminary round of competition on Thursday, Texas Tech entered today's finals in the lead in co-ed cheer with a top score of 96.25; in pom with 93.48 points; and in jazz with a score of 96.02.
At the end of the day of final performances, the co-ed squad finished with a score of 95.03, falling behind Oklahoma State, which finished with a score of 96.04. Texas Tech took first place in pom with a score of 94.60, 1.83 points ahead of second-place Iowa State University; and first place in jazz with a score of 97.37, 0.83 points ahead of second-place Brigham Young University.
The squads also will wait on word from the co-ed partner team and Texas Tech's mascot still in Daytona, who will compete Saturday for a national title in the 2021 NCA Partner Stunt and Mascot championships, respectively.
“What an extraordinary accomplishment in an extraordinary year,” said Stephanie Rhode, director of the Spirit Program. “I'm in awe of these athletes. They don't get to show the depth of their ability at football and basketball games, especially this year. But when you come to an event like this and people come from all over the country and world to come to Texas Tech, it's humbling. It makes me proud of what they do for the university and athletics. Hopefully, this news will bring pride to the university we love so dearly.”