For the second year in a row, the SJSU cheerleading team walked away with first place at the United Spirit Association Collegiate Championships. They competed against 10 other four-year schools March 22 and 23 in Anaheim.
Head Coach Kelvin Lam says the team prepares physically and mentally all year long for this one competition.
If you compare it to football, you only have one chance to run a play to make a touchdown. There are no second chances, so everything has to be perfect. That tells you the amount of pressure the cheerleaders face,” Lam said.
The 22 women and two men team performed a two-and-a-half-minute routine choreographed to customized music and sound effects. Lam says their acrobatics, tumbling and stunts were nearly perfect on the first day, but less so on the second day.
Because of that, many team members were nervous going into the awards ceremony, uncertain of the outcome. But the Spartan cheerleaders were judged best overall in the two-day competition.
Lam says when they heard they won first place, “everyone was just ecstatic, jumping everywhere, just so full of excitement.”
Cheerleader Paige Collins, ’15 Child and Adolescent Development, is one of seven seniors who will leave SJSU with a national win in hand.
The team this year was absolutely amazing, and it feels amazing to share a title with people who worked so hard and deserved it,” Collins said.
The win was even sweeter given the team had faced some adversity throughout the year, including a weight room injury just two weeks before the Anaheim competition, forcing major changes in the routine.
“It always feels good to win and it always feels great to get pats on the back from other people, but the most satisfying thing for me is to see how the team handled itself before, during and after the event,” Lam says. “I couldn’t have picked a better group of people to represent SJSU.”