Northwestern State University Cheerleading recently returned to Louisiana after performing in the National College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. At the Jan. 12-14 competition, NSU ranked seventh in the Cheer Game Day competition and fifth in the mascot competition, both in the Open category.
Each member was required to raise $1000 for the trip to Disney, which included a four-day Park Hopper for all parks, a three-night stay at a Disney resort, entrance into the ESPN Wide World of Sports and registration into the competitions and exclusive events.
The team held ticket raffles and stunt clinics to raise money, as well as received donations from family and friends.
Destiny Kennerson, a first-year member, was excited that the squad could go to Disney and show off their skills.
“NSU hasn’t been to UCA nationals in about three to four years,” she said. “So [NSU] getting to go again really was exciting. We were ready to show the world who NSU cheer was.”
Baleigh Danger, a sophomore pre-vet major, shared Kennerson’s desire to compete.
“Our spirit groups at NSU don’t get enough recognition,” Danger said. “It was nice to be able to put our name out there and say that we are a nationally recognized cheer squad.”
Though the competition was the reason for the trip, it wasn’t all work for the team. When not practicing or performing, they were free to explore the Walt Disney World parks – Danger’s favorite part of the trip.
“We aren’t just a team; we’re family,” she said.
The team met at Rainforest Cafe daily for dinner and had the opportunity to visit every park during their time there.
“My favorite part of competing had to be stepping foot on the floor and just feeling that adrenaline rush through [me],” Tre Jackson said of the experience. “Then finding out your team is nationally ranked is an even greater feeling.”
NSU Cheerleaders can be seen tonight in Prather Coliseum when NSU Basketball plays the University of New Orleans at 6:30 p.m.
Tryouts for the fall 2018 squad will occur April 21-22, but interested students can attend an open practice on Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. For more information, follow the team’s Instagram.