📣 Kansas Cheerleading Team Wins Virtual National Championship
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas cheerleading team was crowned National Champions this week after competing in the UCA College Virtual National Championships. This win marked the team’s first victory in the D1A Small Coed Division and first win since 1995. KU topped second-place University of Miami with a final score of 85.10.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many spirit squads were unable to travel for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Universal Cheerleaders Association responded by offering a virtual competition for teams that were unable to travel to College Nationals in Orlando, Fla. A total of 20 teams competed across various divisions for the national championship title.
KU head coach Drake Stafford joined the coaching staff in 2017 in hopes to continue the competitive mentality of the program.
"Like many other programs across the country, our responsibilities within the athletic department dramatically changed this year. We couldn’t start working skills until late-October, we cheered every game from the stands and masks were worn at all times during practice as well as games. We changed the way we practiced to limit exposure times and the team was even asked to follow strict social guidelines outside of practice. They sacrificed a lot during the year to ensure we were able to stay competitive at home. Our only goal was to hit a clean routine that would make Jayhawk nation proud. Winning is just icing on the cake."Coach Stafford
The Kansas cheerleading team has now won three national championships in the Large and Small Coed Divisions. In 2020, the athletic department announced the inauguration of KU’s first All-Girl cheer team. The Coed and All-Girl teams combined to compete in the Small Coed Division in 2021, Stafford plans to continue that competition strategy in the future.
Tryouts for the 2021-2022 cheer squads are already underway. Spirit Squad Director, Cat Jarzemkoski plans to announce the teams at the beginning of May.