Cheer Squad Prepares for Nationals

Jan. 10, 2012

Kansas CheerLAWRENCE, Kan. – For brief moments during timeouts at football and basketball games, the Kansas cheerleading squad is the main focus. This weekend, the Jayhawk cheerleaders will take center stage, and are the main attraction at the Universal Cheerleaders Association National Competition in Orlando, Fla.

On Tuesday night, the cheer squad had one final tune-up at Horejsi Family Athletic Center in front of family and friends, as well as past cheer squad members. The team performed their National’s routine twice to the delight of the supporters in attendance.

“Tonight went really well performing in front of our family, friends and the athletes from our different programs who want to send us off and give us an extra boost of confidence,” said senior cheer squad member Emily Kempf.

Kansas will be one of 21 Division 1A teams competing over the weekend in Orlando, and will be back in time to cheer on the Jayhawk men’s basketball team in their Big Monday game versus Baylor.

“This schedule is not that big of a change for us. Getting to go down (to Nationals) and have a blast while doing our routine, then coming back to Lawrence to support our KU Athletics, as well as supporting ourselves is a great opportunity. It is something we all really enjoy doing,” said senior Daryl Green.

The Jayhawks, who finished fifth at last year’s competition, will arrive at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports on Thursday, where they will have a variation of practice times before competitions begin Saturday, Jan. 14. Kansas will have a semi-final performance just after 2:30 p.m. in the HP Fieldhouse, and would perform in the finals Sunday at a time to be determined.

“I’m looking forward to hitting our routine – that is something that we are all focusing on. What place you get is really in the judge’s hands,” said Kempf, who will be making her fourth-consecutive appearance at Nationals. “All we can do is hit our routine to the best of our abilities. That is what our team has set for ourselves, we want to hit each of our sets and represent KU very well.”

The UCA is offering a live webcast of the weekend’s events for a small fee at Selected performances will also be aired on ESPN in February.