This past weekend the university’s CRU Cheer competitive cheerleading team competed in the second annual Texas Collegiate Cheerleading Championship, from which the Cru brought home six placing trophies.
UMHB came home with a first, second, third and fourth place trophy for group stunt and a first and fourth place title for coed, better known as partner stunting.
UMHB was one of nine schools to attend the event, Including Division I school Sam Houston State University and partner stunt first place champions from St. Edward’s University, where the competition was hosted. St. Edward’s took home third this year in partner stunt.
The team faced some adversities.
Junior marketing major Jenna Jones said, “Kelli Hearn, a former Cru cheerleader and current coach at Central Texas Christian School, helped us reach our full potential by encouraging us and identifying our strengths .… She used her knowledge and love for cheerleading to help us become the best we could be.”
Hearn is an alumna of the university and played a major role in getting the team ready to compete.
She has led her team, CTCS to back to back national championships for the team in Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders.
Campus Recreation Director Sue Weaver also helped with logistics in getting the cheerleading team ready to compete. She managed the team while Hearn had a hands-on role in critiquing and coaching.
Sophomore elementary education major and second year veteran Amanda Davis said, “If it was not for them, we wouldn’t have wanted to try so hard and win for the rest of our teammates and family to overcome situations that were difficult.”
Leading up to the competition, the team faced struggles including injuries and other transitions that concluded with the university competing in just group and partner stunt divisions of the competition.
This was different from last year as the Cru found themselves taking home first place in skills, Division III overall and overall Texas Collegiate Championship winners from 2011.
These transitions, however, did not stop the team from working hard toward their goals.
Jones said, “We were faced with adversity when our group routine was no longer going to be an option .… We put together several group stunts and partner stunts in a very short amount of time and encouraged each other leading up to the competition.”
The team did not stop working hard because they were no longer competing in the large group routine, but worked even harder to get the group stunts put together with just two weeks of practice.
Davis said, “We all supported each other through the ups and downs, and I couldn’t thank God for a greater group of athletes to work with.”
Davis said her group overcame many obstacles but persevered to showcase the group’s creativity.
One of the adversities the team had to face was an injury to the flier of the first place recipients’ group.
Sophomore elementary education major Brooklyn Eikenburg said, “My flyer Lizzie Barnett actually sprained her ankle about four days before competition, but we all worked hard and pushed through for a victory in the end.”
Sophomore nursing major and first place recipient for group stunt Breanna Noland said, “The thing that stands out most to me was right before we went out, we all got in a circle and prayed and as a group said we wanted to do this for God and give all glory to him. We could feel him there with us, and that was an amazing feeling.”
Jones said the best part of the competition was seeing the team bond.
“The most encouraging thing I saw from my team was the way we all showed love to each other, no matter our personality differences.”