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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

CNU Competition Cheer team clinches NCA title

A historic comeback to the mat
The cheer team posing with their first place trophy,photo courtesy of head coach Erica Flannigan

The Christopher Newport University Cheer team made a historical comeback to the cheer competition world.

Covid-19 destroyed the CNU competition program with the loss of athlete’s and the ability to perform stunts and pyramids, critical components in the competition cheer world. Last year the coaching staff saw the ability of their team and they knew it was time for CNU to enter the competition arena again.

“This year we got our team off the ground, realizing quickly that it was a very talented squad and the team had been pushing to get back into the competition arena. It was the perfect storm for success and we decided to attend NCA,” explained head coach Erica Flanagan.

The National Cheer Association (NCA) is a prestigious cheer competition held in Daytona, Florida. In order to compete each team must receive a bid. Due to costs CNU was able to utilize the video submission and a few weeks later were granted the programs very first bid to the NCA competition.

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“I think I underestimated what NCA was at first…I really took in what it meant to go to Daytona.” says Sophia Knapp 24’ co-captain of the CNU Cheer team“…starting from when we were in the COVID season…to now being a team of 43 girls on the sideline 20 Girls on the comp team… They [the team]  give 100% all the time and it’s just something I haven’t experienced in my four years here… “

“…so many freshmen, just being incredible with everyone, really building each other up and supporting one another. I think something that’s really difficult about cheer is it’s very easy to get discouraged because stunts don’t work when you have to switch things around…” Says Alyssa Wilkinson 24,’ Co Captain of the CNU Cheerleading team.

On day one of the competition, the team hit their routine, meaning they had zero deductions and executed a perfect routine. This allowed CNU to sit at the top of their division going into day two, which would determine the fruit of their efforts.

In the final section of their routine it was evident that CNU had clinched the title of National Champions.

“We got to the final structure of the pyramid which is almost another routine and they hit and we just went insane because we knew at that point, we had hit, we had the highest score.”

 I made it through the majority of the routine with a big smile on my face but once we hit that last structure…I couldn’t even say “Captain’s” because at the end I was sobbing with excitement… This is it for me and for Alyssa and all of us… it’s just kind of crazy to have that feeling and to know that you succeeded in something you worked so hard for for so long…” Says Knapp.

“As soon as we finished with that [the routine] and started on our dance I was tearing up because I knew we hit an incredible routine and going into Daytona, My only goal was for us to hit zero on both days of the competition. And that’s exactly what we did,” says Wilkinson. “I really didn’t care where we ended up in the rankings. It was just a cherry on top to get that national championship but I was so happy with how we did and proud of all the hard work that we put in to get.”

“As a coach, I have been on cloud nine since we left for this event. There was so much preparation and hard work that went into it. We did have a big goal because we do have a great team. Although we haven’t competed in a few years, we are experienced in the competition arena, “ says Flanagan.

“We’re all extremely hungry and excited and we are absolutely going to continue to go back. I think the kids have worked so hard and they’ve really proved themselves that they know, they want it,” added Flanagan.

“It’s been overwhelming … I mean, they [the alumni] are so excited for us,” continued Flanagan. 

When asked about recruitment after the team’s big win, Flanagan explained, “My hope is that we’ve been away from the competition arena for a couple of years. And that’s something that some of the best cheerleaders out there look for when they’re coming to a school. My hope is that this is going to generate some more interest. We have great interest and talent that’s coming in [to the program] now but I think [the NCA win] is definitely going to generate more interest [in the future] as well.” 

Team also garnered immense national recognition as the squad was ranked one of two all girls teams among the top 10 out of intermediate, division one two, and three.

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