The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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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

Cheerleaders take second place

+Cheerleaders+take+second+place
Cheerleaders take second place

Cheerleaders take second place

The SMU Cheerleading squad’s Mustang spirit garnered itsecond place at the annual National Cheerleading AssociationChampionship in Daytona Beach, Fla., this past weekend.

Making its return to nationals after an 11-year absence, theteam left Texas with high hopes.

“We were going in saying, ‘Let’s do our bestand make finals,'” said coach Sara O’Connell,whose optimism was boosted after the team held an open exhibitionof their routines.

“After their show off on [March 28],” she said,”I had a very good feeling that they would dowell.”

After their plane landed, the Ponies hit the ground running,coming out of the first round at the head of the pack. On a10-point scale, SMU cheered its way to a first-round score of8.89.

“Coming out of the prelims in first place was the bestfeeling in the world,” O’Connell said.

The team’s quick start earned them a nickname in the eyesof their competitors.

“[By the end of the first round], people were calling us‘The Comeback Kids,'” said O’Connell.

But the first-place feeling was short-lived for the Mustangs, asthe University of Houston Cougars went on to take the victorioushonors for the small co-ed division.

San Diego State finished third.

“I couldn’t be any prouder,” O’Connellsaid. “They haven’t been to nationals in 11 years andcame back with a second place trophy. They did amazing.”

The presentation of the trophy was a unique event in itself, asSMU alumnus and NCA founder Lawrence Herkimer made sure tocongratulate his alma mater.

“He handed out the trophies to all the first-placewinners,” O’Connell said, “and told us how proudhe was of our team.”

Along with reputation of a team that came out of nowhere, thisweekend also brought the Ponies attention from watchful eyes acrossthe nation.

“People are now looking at SMU as a cheerleadingschool,” O’Connell said.

While nationals marked the finale of this year’scheerleading season, the Mustangs will be hard at work soon, astryouts for the 2004-2005 season will begin in two weeks.

The squad will spend much of the summer on the Hilltop,participating in different camps to work on co-ed routines andindividual stunts and ensure another successful trip to nationalsnext year.

“They’re going to do great this summer,”O’Connell said. “I’m so lucky to be working withsuch a talented group.”

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