Cheer and dance shine on the national stage

Butler cheer placed second in Small Coed Division 1 for their game day routine in the UCA national competition. Photo courtesy of @butlerucheer on Instagram


Collegiate cheer and dance teams from around the country flocked to Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the annual Universal Cheerleading and Universal Dance Association competitions at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from Jan. 12 through Jan. 14

Butler’s cheer placed second in Small Coed Division 1 for their game day routine — falling short to the University of Delaware. Last season, the cheer team placed eighth in the same competition and division. Cheer also placed third for their traditional routine in the same division. 

Butler Athletics gave both the cheer and dance teams the opportunity to travel to nationals for the first time last year

The cheer team knew that they wanted to make improvements after their first trip to the national stage, which included working on their skill sets earlier in the season so they could focus on perfecting their final routine sooner. Junior health sciences major Emily Jones said that the stage felt different the second time around. 

“I think going into nationals for the first time, people [were] scared,” Emily said. “The lights are a lot. The judging [adds] a lot of pressure. If you have never been in that setting before, you don’t really know how to handle it. So I think this year, having people with a lot of experience really helped the dynamic.” 

Senior strategic communication major Allie Olsen is in her fourth year of Butler cheer. Her second time at nationals held a strong place in her heart, and she knew she wanted to prove something to herself and Butler Athletics. 

“We were hungry to prove ourselves,” Olsen said. [We wanted] to prove that this was something that we could continue to do and something that Athletics would continue to help us with.”

At this level, there is exceptionally skilled competition everywhere. Sophomore health sciences major Maggie Jones said it was amazing to see top competitors on the stage and dance in such an intense atmosphere. 

“It’s definitely a mix between a really intense, but also a really welcoming environment,” Maggie said. “It’s also a really good learning experience. This is only our second year going, but each year we are learning and seeing what we can do better so that the year after we can come back stronger.” 

The dance team placed sixth in their game day routine this year. Although she is proud of the results, Maggie is excited to be able to continue improving as a team in her next two years. 

“I think a big thing in the future will be that we recruit girls that want to compete and have that mindset,” Maggie said. 

Competing and placing allows the current athletes to improve, and can also be paramount for recruiting new athletes. Emily said that since her first year with the cheer team, recruiting has increased immensely. Butler’s improving performance on the national stage is a huge reason for this. 

“We’ve had recruits come to the last two practices, which I have not seen this early on before,“ Emily said. 

As both teams continue to prepare and compete in nationals, the seniors hope that they have made a lasting impact on the growing program. 

“We wanted to establish who we are as Butler Athletics and Butler cheer,” Olsen said. “[We wanted to] go out there and put our name out there in the cheer world more.” 


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