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MU Cheer Makes History

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The cheerleaders huddle together before taking the mat.

The cheerleaders huddle together before taking the mat.

The cheerleaders huddle together before taking the mat.

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The Marian University cheerleading squad has not always been viewed as an athletic group. They support a number of other programs, such as the football team and men’s and women’s basketball teams, but they were never a part of a competition themselves – until now.  This year, MU cheer is paving the way to change that.

On February 10th, the squad took a bus to a suburb of Chicago to make history. The team competed in its first ever competition at the Eagle Take Off Challenge Invitational at Robert Morris University. They arrived early, getting their game faces ready. As soon as they walked into the school, they were ready to fight. Facing a number of talented NAIA teams, the squad also faced their nerves: they wanted to show their hard work and dedication on the mat.

The team began warming up to compete around 7 o’clock that evening, and they weren’t really sure what to expect. They followed strict instructions. They had 5 minutes to warm up stunts, 5 minutes to warm up tumbling and jumping skills, and approximately 7 minutes to do a full routine warm up. Warm ups went well for the MU cheer squad, and they headed out to the floor with confidence. As their name was called, the team cheered out to their designated places and left it all on the mat. Every single stunt hit. The tumbling went well. Even the jumps looked decent. After their two-minute routine, they huddled around first year coach Lindsay Gardner as she held back tears in her eyes.

The group relaxed for a few minutes and headed back to the warm up room, as they were set to perform again. They took warm ups a little more relaxed this round, trying to save their energy to perform. As they headed out to the floor, the group said a prayer and walked out after yelling “Go Knights” at the top of their lungs. Their name was called again, and once again the ladies gave a strong performance. They finished the evening ‘hitting zero,’ meaning that their stunts all hit and no deductions were added to their score sheet. They felt on top of the world.

As the cheer rounds finally concluded, all the teams took to the floor and awaited the results. The MU squad held hands, hoping for the best. The team walked away with a third and fourth place award. All of their hard work had paid off. The team headed home, feeling victorious. They had placed in their very first competition ever.

Watch out, NAIA. This team is ready to be as decorated as the other sports at Marian University, and they are ready to work for it. The Knights take the mat once again Friday, February 16 at the University of Saint Francis, and they will conclude their season in Adrian, Michigan at Siena Heights for their regional competition on Saturday, February 24th.

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