March 29, 2006
Cullowhee, N.C. - After months of preparation and three separate athletic seasons, the Western Carolina University cheerleading squad is ready for a competition of its own. The WCU Cheerleaders will compete in the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) 2006 Chick-fil-a Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championships on Thursday, April 6 through Friday, April 7, in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Catamounts will again compete in the Small Co-Ed Division I with 14 additional squads and are slated to be the third team in the classification to perform on Thursday. WCU will follow squads from Maryland and Gardner-Webb at approximately 8:27 am at the Ocean Center in Daytona. If Western were to make the finals in their division, they would compete around 4:45 pm on Friday evening.
"We are very excited to head to Daytona and compete against some of the best programs in the country," said head coach Kim Cherry. "Our primary goal as a squad is to help create an exciting atmosphere for Catamount Athletics during football, and men's and women's basketball seasons. Having the opportunity to compete in Daytona is just icing on the cake. It's quite an accomplishment to get there and we look forward to representing Western."
The WCU cheerleaders earned a bid to nationals back in August of 2005 after placing sixth in their division in the video submission portion of the competition. Defending champion, Louisville, placed first in the division during the preliminaries, followed by Charlotte, Southern Methodist, Idaho State, and Illinois-Chicago. Western edged teams such as Florida Atlantic, Florida International - which finished third last year, Gardner-Webb, and the only other Southern Conference entry, UNC Greensboro, to place in the top half of the division.
Western competed in the same NCA event last season and despite not placing, Cherry commented that strides were made and great experience gained that she feels will help the squad at this year's competition.
Both Cherry and assistant coach Eddie Wells are no stranger to the national competitions. The two were a part of the 2000 WCU squad that placed sixth at Nationals and a year later, improved to a school-best finish of third behind Charlotte and Western Kentucky.
"Having been a part of Western's best-ever finish, both Eddie and I are looking forward to building and leading our program back to the top 10 in our division," added Cherry.