Cheerleaders and Dance Team Earn National Bids

Aug. 14, 2014



				
By Brad Muller

The regular season for Gamecock intercollegiate athletics teams hasn't started yet, but the South Carolina spirit teams already have something to cheer about. Last weekend at the National Cheerleaders Association College Camp in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's cheerleading teams and dance team took home prestigious honors to earn bids to the NCA's national championship competition next April in Daytona Beach, FL.

South Carolina's all-girl and co-ed cheerleading teams received Gold Paid Bids, which are the highest bids awarded for the NCA competition, and a school record 23 Gamecock cheerleaders earned All-America honors. The co-ed team placed second in the Rally Routine, and the all-girl team placed third in its division. The Carolina Girls dance team received two Silver Paid Bids to the national competition, with four individuals taking home All-America honors.

"I am very pleased with our performances this year," said cheer coach Erika Goodwin. "This year, we have the strongest co-ed team I have coached at South Carolina, and the all-girl team remains very talented as well. So I'm very excited about the upcoming season."

To receive All-America honors, each participant was judged on performing a series of elite stunts and tumbling. More than 800 campers from approximately 40 schools were represented in Myrtle Beach.

The Carolina Girls dance team took home second and third place honors at the competition. The dance team currently has its largest squad since the program began in 2007 with 32 dancers, which allowed coach Lindsay Sprague to split the squad into two separate teams for the competition.

"I was very pleased with how well we did, especially since this is the first year we split into two teams," said Sprague. "Ultimately, we're going to be able to have all of our dancers perform at nationals. By having two teams performing, it gives the girls great experience and an opportunity to make themselves better dancers."

The Gamecock cheerleaders will be looking to top their best-ever finishes at the national competition from last year after the all-girl squad finished third at nationals and the co-ed team finished fourth. The dance team finished a program-best fourth in the team performance division at last year's national competition, while also taking sixth place in the hip-hop division.

Before that happens, the spirit groups will have plenty of opportunities to perform for Gamecock fans at South Carolina football, volleyball and men and women's basketball games during the 2014-2015 school year. The cheerleaders also make an estimated 40-50 other appearances per year outside of South Carolina athletics events.

The Gold Paid Bid provides the cheerleading team with five paid rooms at nationals and a reduced rate for all other rooms, while the dance team will receive four paid rooms in addition to a reduced rate for other rooms. While the awards from the NCA College Camp will cut down on expenses for nationals for both programs, they won't pay for the entire trip so the programs will also rely on fundraising efforts and donations to help defray costs. For information on donating to either program contact Erika Goodwin at egoodwin@mailbox.sc.edu or Lindsay Sprague lsprague@mailbox.sc.edu.