Day One Photo Gallery | Round One Photo Gallery | National Champs Photo Gallery
April 9, 2010 - 10:00 p.m.
This has been the most amazing weekend of my life! Winning a National title as a freshman was a dream come true and being the GRAND CHAMPIONS of the entire competition was just icing on the cake! There was definitely added pressure as a freshman on the mat, but all of that was lifted when we started our routine. We were too excited to be nervous! There is nothing that can compare to the feeling on the floor as we hit our final pose. I will forever remember that moment. This was such an fantastic season that I already can't wait for next year! Now that we've got the National title, let's keep it where it belongs!!! LET'S GO TERPS!!!
April 8, 2010 - 6:00 p.m.
It's my last NCA Nationals and last cheerleading competition ever with the University of Maryland. The feeling is bittersweet, but with the way things are looking here in Daytona, my last experience with the team is going to be the best one yet. We arrived yesterday morning and everyone's confidence and attitude was, and still is, sky high. We had a great performance at our homeshow last Friday night and we are going to continue our energetic and positive streak throughout the competition here. Today in our preliminary round, we had a couple of mistakes, but they were all things that I am confident in and I know that they won't happen again tomorrow. Normally, we are scheduled to compete outside on the second day for finals, but because of the weather, we will be competing in the same place as today. When the team first found out we were bummed, but instead, we are embracing the fact that we know exactly what the atmosphere will be like and what to expect for tomorrow. We got all of our jitters out today and the team is doing a really great job of forgetting about the mistakes and focusing on crushing the competition tomorrow.
Tonight we have our banquet where we get to enjoy silly jokes from the past seasons with our friends and family before we have to get back into the right mindset for our big day tomorrow. Our nationals team this year has the most talent than we've ever had before and I'm so excited to go out there tomorrow and show everyone how hard we've worked these past couple of months. Just like our music says, "We're still the one."
April 7, 2010 - 9:00 p.m.
April 7, 2010-5:30 p.m.
I just got back from our first practice at NCA nationals. All eyes were on us as we stole the show warming up outside. With the support of our family and friends we confidently hit everything we put in the air and kept the energy going as we went into the arena for warm up. Our team took the floor professionally as cool, classy and confident cheerleaders. I'm so excited to start the competition tomorrow and be one step closer to bringing the title back to where it belongs.
April 7, 2010 - 2:30 p.m.
We're finally here! We just got down to Daytona and set up camp where we'll be staying this week. After Friday night's fan performance and practice the last few days, we've never felt more prepared for Nationals than we do with this team. One of our teammates was injured last night, but her heart for this team will help her push it out this weekend like a true Terp.
As a stunt group, we've stayed together the entire season- which is pretty uncommon. The amount of trust we have in each other is unreal; it's a special type of bond. We call ourselves the Wolfpack, because we know that our strength comes from the connectedness we share. Now it's time for all of our hard work to finally pay off, and we can't wait to go out and show everyone what champions are really made of. We're heading off for practice now, for a last minute reminder of how awesome we will be this weekend and why everyone in Daytona should FEAR COMP CHEER. We'll keep you all updated! GO TERPS!!!
April 5, 2010
Hello Terp Fans!
We are heading to NCA (National Cheerleaders Association) Nationals once again. Each April for the past eleven years I have headed to Daytona Beach, Fla. with a University of Maryland team.
Eleven years ago during April 1999, I was a freshman on the University of Maryland's All-Girl nationals team. Then, the cheerleading team was a university activity, responsible for supporting University of Maryland athletics teams with sideline support. Most of the coaching staff was with me then too, except assistant coach Laura Chiriaco who was a middle school student back then. She was years from becoming a member of the first recruited class of competitive cheer (2004) and a team captain of the Terps (2007,2008). She was one of the most motivated athletes I've ever had the pleasure of coaching. Terp's assistant coach Angela Fisher was on a co-ed team that was covering NCAA basketball tournament games so she was unable to be on that year's competition team. She was always enthusiastically encouraging the team's progress and voluntarily attending our practices. Angela was always a true friend, constantly giving the positive reassurance that I needed after a tough day. Assistant coach Lura Fleece was my coach and mentor. She took a chance on me and transformed me from a gymnast to a collegiate cheerleader. Assistant coach Alexis Suter was also on the team with me. We loved when we were basing the same stunt or were next to each other on the floor. That year we came in second place in the preliminary round, a huge surprise for an unranked team. We ran to stand in line for payphones to call home with the news. Yes, payphones! We delivered a strong routine next day and won our first national championship in 1999. I think of what it meant to win a championship in 1999, it was the confirmation of our hard work and superior skills over other teams in the nation. I often reflect on my perspective as an athlete to effectively coach this team.
Now, I am a head coach of an official Varsity sport team that has won three NCA national championships (2006, 2007, 2008). In 2009 our raw score tied for first place but the team incurred .10 in deductions that put us in second place. This program has become a dynasty in the past 11 years and I am so blessed to be chosen to lead this group of amazing athletes.
This season has been full of change and advancement of our sport. The creation of NCSTA meet format enhanced the competition atmosphere by requiring competition beyond the team routine to have partner stunt, pyramid, tumbling, and basket toss rounds. With our new meet-style competitions each athlete has gained a tremendous amount of competitive experience. They have been forced to have more personal accountability for the team score with their involvement in separate events. We have had some really physically demanding practices this season. I once heard the quote, "A good coach is someone who makes you do what you don't want to do, pushes you do what you don't think you can do, so you can become who you've always wanted to be." The coaching staff wants to get the most out of every team member so that the University of Maryland gives the best possible representation at the National championships. We have pushed this team. When championships are within tenths of points, every detail of preparation is necessary. This year's routine has more advanced pyramid entries and standing tumbling than has ever been performed in our Division. The Terps are ready for the fight!
Friday night the team performed a routine that was nearly flawless. I saw the confidence in their eyes during warm up, I knew it was going to be a great night. The crowd roars were the ultimate confirmation that this year's routine has that "WOW" factor. Our synchronization was the best I've seen this season.
Because of an NCA limitation on the amount of members involved in a team routine only 20 athletes are permitted to perform. This group of 20 performing in the team routine has been such a strong determined group. They push each other and exponentially improve each time we run the routine. The entire roster of 35 operates as a true family so the entire team will be there, 15 off the mat with the same heartbeat as the 20 on the mat.
In the next few days of practice we will practice the routine, build confidence, and visualize success in Daytona. After the preliminary round on Thursday, I will smile as I see the girls texting their friends and family about our success as there won't be a payphone in sight!
From payphones to text messaging, University activity to official Varsity sport, traditional competitions to meet style, a lot has changed in my 11 years of involvement. This team went from wearing traditional cheer uniforms to wearing an official jersey with their names and numbers on the back. In 1999 a score 7.92 won the All-Girl division, last year a 9.625 was the top score. With all of the change one thing that has remained constant was the pride that I feel when I'm with the University of Maryland team.
Coaches and team members will post blog updates starting on Wednesday so please check our website all week as this year's National Championship unfolds.
April 1, 2010
Hey Terps fans!
We are looking forward to our final home performance of the season this Friday in the Auxiliary Gym at Comcast. Living not far from College Park, I am looking forward to this final chance to perform in front of my family, friends and classmates.
I can't believe my freshman year is almost over! It has been amazing to be part of a team that really is a family. As the countdown to NCA Nationals in Daytona, Florida continues, being a family is the key to our successful practices and preparing for Nationals. Being part of this team has taught me that there really is no I in TEAM and that we are always stronger when we come together and trust each other. Trust has been our main focus lately and it is creating an unwavering mindset going into Nationals.
I am honored and excited to be one of three freshmen selected to compete in Daytona where I will be holding down the first half of the stunt in the middle. Originally this placement made me a little nervous, but now I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to represent my family well. As NCA is coming nearer and nearer everyday and with every practice my nerves are decreasing and my excitement is growing. Coming down the home stretch of the season confidence is essential and something that as a team we are giving to each other everyday.
I hope to see you all on Friday ready to give us a proper Terrapin send off to Nationals!!
March 7, 2010
Hey Terp fans!
The University of Maryland Competitive Cheer team is coming off a great performance this weekend at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. The win has given our team a "fresh boost of confidence".
Although the road trip was long, we managed to have fun as a team and perform with ease. The new meet style format allowed us to showcase our best skills with poise and finesse. Whether individual, group or team events each and every girl was behind one other with the same goal of excellence in mind.
Competing head to head against Quinnipiac University truly brought out our competitive spirit. The atmosphere was a change, as it was our first experience being represented as the away team. Hearing the crowd chant for the home team ignited something in all of us to create our own "bubble" and execute all our skills to perfection. We let our technique do the talking and it showed in the scoring as we won the stunting, tumbling, basket tosses, pyramids and the overall competition.
With the road to NCA Nationals getting closer, the season's competitive schedule helps us to strengthen our technical skills and build a bond that will help us succeed in Daytona. Over the past few weeks, our team has been very adaptable, being able to change positions and skills on such short notice, yet once again proving our team's commitment to each other and to the program's overall success.
Thanks for reading and Go Terps!
This past weekend was the first time that we were considered the away team as we competed against Quinnipiac University's Competitive Cheer team. In previous meet style competitions, we've had somewhat of a home field advantage which was very supportive, but Connecticut was quite the opposite with the majority of the crowd rooting for our opponents. Initially it was intimidating, but we stayed together and focused only on ourselves and our task at hand. The team really shined and proved to be unaffected by this added pressure by performing every element with grace and precision.
This success is just the thing we need coming down the homestretch of our season. With our final and most important competition, NCA Nationals in Daytona, just weeks away, we are now perfecting skills to put the best routine possible on the floor. I feel that this new meet style of competition has truly strengthened our team and helped us prepare for NCA. By constantly competing on hard floor, we have been building our endurance up for our main competition. Hard floor practices year round definitely have helped to improve our tumbling because our bodies have been adjusted to the floor for months.
The next few weeks are crunch time. It's the time to give it all you've got at practice, every practice. We have the skills and a strong, united team. Now's the time to show what we've got!!
LETS GO TERPS!!!!
Feb. 23, 2010
This past weekend was our first without a competition this month and it's strange not spending the weekend with the team. We had a break from competing as we work on our meet style format routine for our trip to Quinnipiac University this Sunday. The new meet style is a completely different cheerleading experience for me, but I absolutely love it! Rather than showing off our talent in a 2 minute, 30 second routine, we get to perform in different events and then compete with the routine like we are used to. This gives us a chance to shine in the areas that we excel in. My cousin and teammate, Samantha Johnson and I have been tumbling together for years and were able to compete in the duo pass last weekend at our home meet. Winning a competition like that is an awesome feeling because our team is being recognized for our specific strengths that have given us two wins at both meets.
Our team is even more ready for Daytona this year then we were last year. Meet style competitions are mostly held on hard floor so we have been going full out on hard floor for months now. This really does get your body in shape for the biggest competition of the year! Coaches say cheerleading is 90% mental and 10% physical, making our team close to being 100% ready for NCA. Going into such a big competition with confidence will reflect how well we place, that's for sure. Our team has come a long way with performing this year. At Cheersport it was like someone flipped a switch and performing came naturally to everyone on the mat. Jarnell was extremely pleased with how well we lit up the stage! We have two more chances to win NCSTA meet titles, one home performance, then we head to the Super Bowl of cheerleading - NCA!!!! Until then, let's rock out these next two meets and then bring home those rings!