Florida Tech’s cheer and dance teams competed at the 2019 Universal Cheer Association and Dance Team National Championship Jan. 18 through Jan. 20.
The dance team competed in the “open palm” competition, while the cheer team participated in the “D2 small co-ed” competition.
Cheer made it to finals for the first round and then were ranked sixth in the nation.
Head coach Alexa Flutie-Sumner said this was the cheer team’s second year competing.
“They got presented a trophy,” Flutie-Sumner said. “We are now nationally ranked, so we’re very excited about that.”
Flutie-Sumner said the dance team did well but had a lot more competition than the cheer team.
“My dance team is still new, too,” Flutie-Sumner said. “We’re still developing it. But they scored a 93 in their score sheets, which is very exceptional. However, we did not make it to finals and we did not get ranked.”
The dance team’s score went up by 15 points from last year, according to Flutie-Sumner.
“We had a lot of technical style of dance this year,” Flutie-Sumner said, “which we haven’t in the past, which really increased our score.”
Flutie-Sumner said cheer competed against about 13 other teams and dance competed against 16.
Amber Palmer, a graduated psychology major and cheerleader, said it was “one of the best feelings” when it was announced they made it to the finals and then were ranked sixth in the nation.
“Our entire team went crazy, and I even cried because we had come so far and worked so hard,” Palmer said. “There’s really no better feeling than your hard work paying off and accomplishing so many goals as a team.”
Juliana Burgos, a senior studying chemical engineering and an original member of Florida Tech’s dance team, said they put on their best dance performance to date at the competition.
“When the dance team started it was more about figuring out how to integrate ourselves into the school and create the foundation for future years,” Burgos said. “Now we have amazing opportunities like competing at UDA College Nationals.”
The practices leading up to the UDA and UCA College Nationals were difficult, according to Palmer.
“We had practice almost every day for the entire two weeks before competition, and each would last anywhere from three to six hours,” Palmer said.
The dance team’s practices leading up to the competition were focused on performance and energy, according to Burgos.
Palmer said her time on the cheer team wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.
“Overall, my experience has been great,” Palmer said. “I’ve learned so much from my coach and made some lifelong friends.”