ORLANDO, Fla.- The Central Michigan University all-girl cheerleading team created a name for itself as it recently traveled to the 2008 College Cheerleading & Dance Team National Championships.
The event, hosted by Universal Cheerleading Association and Varsity Spirit Fashions at the Walt Disney World Resort, was held on Saturday Jan. 19. Competing on the national scene was a new experience for the girls on CMU's team, but they set their goals high, and it paid off.
“Our all-girl team was new to nationals,” CMU cheerleading coach Pat Beirne said. “Our first goal was to make it to the finals, and the second was to place in the top 10. We did both. “ The Chippewas competed against 17 other teams in the semifinal round the before advancing to the finals.
CMU's performance in the finals earned it a seventh-place finish, just four points out of the top five. CMU was the highest placing team from either the Mid-American Conference or the state of Michigan. The University of Memphis won the national championship.
“This competition was confirmation that our all-girl team deserved to be at nationals,” Beirne said. “We want to win a national championship in the next couple of years. That’s where we feel we are headed. Our challenge now is to get our co-ed team back into nationals. It's very hard to have two teams do very well at that level."
The CMU cheerleaders will slow down their schedule a bit. Instead of the five-hour daily practices, they will focus on cheering the remainder of basketball season and then take about a two-month break before beginning preparations for the 2009 national championships