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January 22, 2009

ULM cheerleaders compete for national championship title

With only a few days left before the 2009 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship in Orlando, Fla., and surrounded by signs promoting excellence, the University of Louisiana at Monroe cheerleading squad practiced their routine one last time in Brown Gym.

The public event allowed 16 members of the team to iron out the details that make a difference in delivering a top-notch performance for the judges and the sizable audience that is expected to view the competition.

The ULM team will compete in the semifinals with other Small Coed Division I teams from around the nation, from as far away as Villanova University in Pennsylvania to nearby University of Louisiana - Lafayette.

The prestigious competition, which showcases the country’s best college cheerleaders, dance team performers and mascots, is marking its 25th year.

Just being invited to compete is an honor, since each team had to submit a taped performance of their squad’s routine and rank high enough to compete in the semifinals. ULM cheerleaders placed third in their division, securing a spot in the competition and even earning a portion of the funding necessary to get to Orlando.

“...We hope that all the hard work that we have put in is enough for the national championship title! Our goal is to go to UCA nationals and do our personal best,” said Joanie Williams, coordinator of ULM spirit groups.

The finals follow a weekend in which more than 3,000 of the country’s top college cheerleaders and dancers assembled at the Walt Disney World Resort.

“We are really excited about this year’s competition,” said Jessica Wood, now in her fourth year on the national’s squad.

“We have all put in so much time and hard work to get our routine where it needs to be. More than anything we want to bring back the national championship title again,” she said.

“The different experiences that we have been through as a team have really brought us together. This is our opportunity to show ULM and the community what we are capable of doing.”

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