The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Pom squad wins nationals

The SMU Pom Squad is the 2006 National Champion in the open division of the Chick-Fil-A Cheer and Dance Collegiate. The win was even more impressive due to the fact it was the squad’s first year to compete in the competition.

The squad performed a two-minute jazz/hip-hop routine. Approximately 5,000 dancers entered in the competition, and SMU came in first place.

“After the competition the feeling was amazing. We walked off the stage, and all of our families and the entire cheerleading squad was chanting S-M-U!” said Jordan Johnson, captain of the Pom Squad.

Pom Squad members can usually be found dancing at football games and pepping up the crowd. They are true spirit junkies.

The competition routine was very different from what the school often sees the girls doing.

“Dancing on the field for football games is strictly about entertainment for the crowd. We dance to the wonderful SMU band, but we are limited to moves we can do on grass,” said Emily White, a sophomore Pom Squad member. The competition routine incorporated more technique and more difficult moves, added White.

“This was more like the dancing we all did in studios growing up rather than spirit dancing on the sidelines,” said Johnson.

The girls started working on the winning routine back in December, “but really it’s a year long process of commitment and thoughts on the team and coach’s part,” said Johnson. Beginning second semester the girls took on intense workouts and extra practices in preparation for April’s competition.

While the majority of SMU students were lounging on the beach during spring break, the Pom Squad was hard at work practicing for Daytona. It even picked up a few two-a-days.

“Our coach has a great way of knowing when to have a hard practice and when to take it easy with us because of school stress,” said Johnson.

White attributed the win to the squad’s coach.

“We got an incredible new coach, Lori Lewis. She had so much faith in our team and she pushed us to be the best dancers we could. Without her we wouldn’t have even gone to competition.”

White explained that the squad did not believe they were good enough to compete. Prior to this year the squad was discouraged about competing and told it was not college competition material. The girls proved that wrong by taking first place in Daytona.

Coach Lewis believed that all the squad needed was a little encouragement and perhaps some outside help.

The squad hired a choreographer that helped them for three days and critiqued a practice run of the routine at an SMU basketball game.

The girls raised the money to fund the trip primarily on their own, and Student Senate contributed about $5,000. The girls sold calendars and received donations from private sponsors, which helped them make it to Daytona.

“Just going to nationals brings in more talent. If you win, you bring in even more,” said SMU Spirit Coordinator Zac Brannon.

Expectations for next year are high. Johnson, the only senior leaving the team, is confident the squad will continue to be successful, “The group of returning girls we have are all very talented and fully capable of leading a new team to a repeat success at nationals.,” Johnson said.

Tryouts for the 2006-2007 Pom Squad will be held this weekend, April 22 and 23.

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