Among the university’s student population, one group in particular stands out with their toned build and 1980s Reebok high tops: Cru cheerleaders.
Since the end of January, the team has spent hours working on a routine to compete in the Texas Collegiate Championship hosted by St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Cru Cheer coach Farrah Dunaway explained the motive behind entering the competition.
“The team enjoys every moment that they support Cru athletics; they wanted to have that same feeling of working towards a goal, despite the challenges and laying everything they have on the table to see who will be the victor,” she said.
Regardless of injuries and illnesses, the squad maintained determination and stayed mentally tough throughout this year.
Cru Cheer returned from the competition with a handful of awards. The team placed second, third and fourth in the stunt competitions, first place in the skills routine — which included Divisions II and III as well as junior colleges — and took first place overall.
When it comes to constructing a routine, elements of cheer, dance, stunt and tumble come together. This creates a high-energy, three–minute performance.
Senior elementary education major Taylor Tyre knows how important it is for the routine to be polished for the competition.
“Everything has to be perfect … even something as little as transitions. The slightest thing out of place can lead to a sloppy routine,” she said.
Senior history major Ellen Bates describes the stunting aspect to be the most difficult challenge. Stunts give a wow factor to the routine and leave the audience impressed with daring acts of high altitude.
“We were changing out bases and flyers up until the last practice before our showcase, which was very stressful, but everyone really pulled their weight and made those stunts work,” she said.
Sophomore elementary education major Nicole Rosato admits to keeping her heart in the right direction and maintaining faith from beginning to end.
“It was a great experience to be a part of a team that grew stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. We definitely didn’t win simply by skill, but also from the strength God provided,” she said.
In all, members of Cru Cheer showcased an award–winning performance, and made their fans and coach proud.
Dunaway said, “The team was up against the wall many times, yet pushed through and never gave up. In life, they will be placed in similar situations, and I am confident they will remember how God has grown them and groomed them for success during trials.”
Also, in Daytona Beach, Fla., the National Cheer & Dance Association’s Collegiate Championship took place with mascot, CRUnk. The alter-ego of junior communication major Sam Williams, performed a 90–second skit filled with dance, props and even pantomime to earn fifth out of 13 mascots.
Adding to the awards for UMHB Cheer, Sam exemplified the attitude that the cheer program has when he said, “I gave it my all and showed them what I’ve got.”