Kansas Cheerleading Squad Takes Fifth at Nationals

Jan. 24, 2011


The Kansas cheerleading squad took home fifth place at last week’s Universal Cheerleading Association College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, in Orlando, Fla.

The event showcased the nation’s top cheerleading and dance squads over three days of competition at the HP Fieldhouse on the grounds of Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Jayhawks, competing in the Division IA category, defeated 10 other schools for the fifth-place title in a tight race. Only one point separated the third, fourth and fifth place squads, with Central Florida and LSU finishing ahead of Kansas. Traditional powerhouses Alabama and Kentucky took first and second place, respectively.

“I’m so proud because they have worked so hard,” said KU Spirit Squad Coordinator Cat Jarzemkoski. “They stayed focused, not only practicing and performing but cheering at games and getting good grades.”

Head cheer coach Corey Stone echoed that sentiment, taking pride in his squad’s dedication.

“I’m proud of how hard they worked this semester. They stayed focused, and were well put-together,” Stone said. “And we really prepared hard for nationals over break, practicing twice a day and really coming together to make it hit.”

The Jayhawks improved on last year’s finish by five places, which Jarzemkoski feels is a tremendous accomplishment given the amount of talent that exists in the Division IA programs.

“Division IA is extremely tough and very competitive,” Jarzemkoski said. “The close score between the third through fifth place teams shows how tough it is.”

“We were prepared a lot earlier this time,” Stone said. “By being prepared earlier, we were able to focus on being clean and didn’t have to worry about (the routine) not hitting.”

Allen Fieldhouse played a role in the win, as Kansas’ score was supplemented by a 90-second video of the squad leading the crowd at a KU basketball game. The Jayhawks received a perfect score of 15 on their crowd-leading video, which accounted for 15 percent of their final live performance score.

“In addition to practicing and performing the competition routine, the squad has continued to foster the atmosphere of the greatest home-court advantage in college basketball while cheering during Kansas men’s and women’s basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse,” Stone said.

Based on a skills video submitted to the UCA in fall, the Jayhawks entered the competition as the winner of the Division IA Midwest Region. KU was named the region’s winner for the third straight year, and was therefore awarded a place in the final round as well as a full-paid bid, including airfare, entrance fees and hotel accommodations for all 18 team members at Disney’s All-Star Resort.

The Kansas cheerleading squad’s nationals performance can be seen here. The skills video can be viewed here.

Competition Squad Members:

Sam Archer, McPherson, Kan.
Halie Barnes, Leawood, Kan.
Ben Falk, Wichita, Kan.
Garrett Greaves, Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Daryl Green, Wichita, Kan.
Haley Hoffman, Shawnee, Kan.
Emily Kempf, Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Matt Martin, Mulvane, Kan.
April Miller, Lawrence, Kan.
Megan Mooneyham, Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Kyle Nord, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Charles Schoket, Wichita, Kan.
Evan Smith, Lebanon, Ohio
Jordan Snyder, Maize, Kan.
Stanley Strecker, Wichita, Kan.
Martrez Taylor, Chicago, Ill.
Sydney Thibodeaux, Tulsa, Okla.