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Belmont cheerleaders reflect on UCA Nationals

The Belmont cheerleaders perfecting their craft. Nico Ingram/Belmont Vision

Belmont’s cheerleading team is still riding high. Competing at the United Cheer Association College Cheerleading National Championships on Jan 13-15, the Bruins traveled to the ESPN Worldwide of Sports in Orlando, Florida. The Bruins earned two top-five finishes in the competition. Placing fourth in the small co-ed gameday division and fifth in the small co-ed cheer division, Belmont made the most of its trip. The opportunity was “one of the most rewarding experiences,” head coach Lindsey Wheeley said. Receiving a bid to nationals isn’t anything to just shrug at, and securing a top five finish out of dozens of teams from all over the nation is worth celebrating. “I think we really exceeded our expectations,” Wheeley said. The multi-day event that shows the product of all the hard work, the tears, and the long nights at practice. For the members of the team, being together was what made the experience special. “It’s a small knit community,” said second-year cheerleader Ethan Pratt. “We really try to stay close and talk to each other.” It all came down to the final adrenaline fueled three-minute routine. “Being a small school, it’s hard to bring it to nationals,” said senior co-captain Kat Kaminiski. “Placing as well as we did against some of the biggest college names was something I can’t even put into words.” The three-minute routine included the fight song, sideline cheer, and a time-out cheer. For the seniors on the team, the experience was bittersweet. Especially for Mikaela Renaud, who experienced nationals for the first time. “I never got to compete at nationals in high school,” said Renaud. “Being able to cap off the end of my cheerleading career with a nationals routine and performance was the best feeling in the world.” This article was written by Nico Ingram

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