Cheerleaders place in top ten at Nationals

By John Dietz

In its debut appearance in all three events at the National Collegiate Cheerleading and Dance Team Championships at Dallas, Texas, the NIU cheerleading squad finished in the top ten in each event.

Sixty-four teams from the three divisions were invited to compete in the three events: the Partner-Stunt competition, the Pom-Dance competition and the Stunt Team competition.

IU’s Howard Lakin and Virna Esteban placed sixth in the Partner-Stunt competition and could have placed higher if it wasn’t for one fall during their routine, said Derek Ramel, NIU’s coach.

Twelve members of the squad combined for an eighth-place showing in the Pom-Dance competition. “This placement could have been higher with an improvement in the jazz dance during the routine,” Ramel said. “The street dance portion was excellent.”

The 20-member stunt team, which did compete in last year’s competition, improved two places from tenth last year to eighth this time around. “Their routine was a great energizer for the crowd and really helped the team perform at a better level,” Ramel said.

“It was a bitter sweet placement for the team because a few major mistakes cost them a higher placement,” Ramel continued.

NIU missed twice on stunt falls and also had two no-hit tumbling mistakes.

Ramel also expressed the satisfaction of knowing that NIU has established itself as a bona fide cheerleading outfit.

“The crowd reactions were fantastic for our team,” Ramel said. “And the icing on the cake was when our stunt team walked out and the crowd went nuts, knowing the routine would be worth watching.”

Ramel expressed hope that NIU will return to Dallas next year and in the future to keep the Huskie name alive in these competitions.

“Our goal is to keep building towards a championship for that ring,” Ramel continued confidently. “But, we are pleased at knowing that NIU has already established itself as a cheerleading powerhouse.”