Varsity Spirit has announced that two cheer teams from Mississippi were among over 30 other teams that secured first-place finishes at the 2023 UCA and UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship.
After three days of performances, the Ole Miss cheer team walked away as winner of the Division IA Spirit Program Game Day, while the Pearl River Community College’s team was awarded first place in Open All Girl Cheer.
The competition, which was produced by the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) and Universal Dance Association (UDA), took place on Friday and continued through the weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. The event hosted nearly 500 performances from over 200 universities across 44 states.
Cheerleading teams were judged on their stunting and tumbling skills, crowd-leading ability, and overall performance, while the dance competition was judged on choreography, technique, execution, and overall effect.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UCA and UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship and our partnership with ESPN,” Bill Seely, President of Varsity Spirit said. “Providing a national championship platform to showcase these incredible athletes’ contribution to their schools and communities, dedication to school spirit, and excellent talent, while giving them an opportunity to compete for a national title is core to our mission of elevating student experiences.”
In the D1A All Girl Game Day category on Friday, the Ole Miss cheer team earned a score of 97.4333 in the semifinals to advance to the top spot. They went on to win the national title with a 97.2333 in the finals, earning their first crown since 2018.
In addition to claiming the Game Day crown, the Rebels’ All-Girl squad won bronze in the Cheer category, while the Coed team finished seventh in Game Day and 11th in Cheer. In Dance, the Rebelettes advanced to the finals in both the Game Day and Jazz divisions and placed 10th and 11th in the country, respectively.
“There are truly no words to explain and describe the sense of joy and pride I have for our All Girl, Coed, and Rebelette teams,” Rachel Levetzow, Ole Miss Director of Athletic Spirit Groups said. “When these athletes put on their uniform with the Ole Miss logo, it means something to them, and it’s that heart and passion that shows when they hit the stage for competition as well as on the sidelines cheering on our Rebels.”
As for Pearl River Community College’s cheer team, the Wildcats secured a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s semi-finals but advanced to the top in finals on Sunday.
In the finals, Pearl River scored an 88.9 to beat out seven other colleges in the Open All-Girl Championship, taking first place over Widener University, Rowan University, Webber International University, The College of New Jersey, University of Pikeville, Wallace State Community College, and Nassau Community College.
“I am so proud of this team,” Pearl River coach Sarah Smith said. “To hit zero in front of the castle on the final day of College Nationals is a dream, and these girls made it a reality. Grit and drive. They had it when it counted, and now they’re going home back-to-back UCA Open All-Girl College National Champions.”
Here’s the entire list of this year’s division champions:
- Division IA Coed Cheer: University of South Florida | Tampa, FL
- Division IA All Girl Cheer: Western Kentucky University | Bowling Green, KY
- Division IA Small Coed Cheer: Florida State University | Tallahassee, FL
- Division IA Pom: University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
- Division IA Hip Hop: University of Nevada, Las Vegas | Las Vegas, NV
- Division IA Jazz: University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
- Division IA Coed Cheer Game Day: University of Cincinnati | Cincinnati, OH
- Division IA All Girl Cheer Game Day: University of South Florida | Tampa, FL
- Division IA Dance Game Day: University of Nevada, Las Vegas | Las Vegas, NV
- Division IA Spirit Program Game Day: University of Mississippi | Oxford, MS
- Division IA Mascot: University of Cincinnati Bearcat | Cincinnati, OH
- Division I Coed Cheer: Morehead State University | Morehead, KY
- Division I All Girl Cheer: Morehead State University | Morehead, KY
- Division I Small Coed Cheer: Morehead State University | Morehead, KY
- Small Coed Cheer Game Day: University of Delaware | Newark, DE
- Division I Dance Game Day: Hofstra University | Hempstead, NY
- Division I Pom: Saint Joseph’s University | Philadelphia, PA
- Division I Hip Hop: University of Delaware | Newark, DE
- Division I Jazz: University of St. Thomas | St. Paul, MN
- Open Coed Cheer: Iowa Western Community College | Council Bluffs, IA
- Open All Girl Cheer: Pearl River Community College | Poplarville, MS
- Open Small Coed Cheer: Wilmington University | Wilmington, DE
- Open Coed Cheer Game Day: Southeastern Louisiana University | Hammond, LA
- Open All Girl Cheer Game Day: Sacred Heart University | Fairfield, CT
- Open Dance Game Day: St. Cloud State University | St. Cloud, MN
- Open Spirit Program Game Day: Long Island University | Brooklyn, NY
- Open Spirit Program Game Day Live: Grand Canyon University | Phoenix, AZ
- Open Pom: Minnesota State University, Mankato | Mankato, MN
- Open Hip Hop: Lindenwood University | St. Charles, MO
- Open Jazz: University of Minnesota, Duluth | Duluth, MN
- Open Mascot: University of Delaware “YouDee” | Newark, DE
Varsity Spirit live-streamed both championships on Varsity TV. Videos of the routines as well as full results listings are available on Varsity TV.
The championships will air on ESPN2 and ESPNU beginning in the spring of 2023. Viewers can check their local listings for air times.
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