After a fourth-place finish last weekend, the UCSB Cheer Team will go, fight and – hopefully – win another competition.
Between Feb. 11 and 12, the all-female cheer team competed against nine other college teams, including San Diego State and Azusa Pacific, at the USA Collegiate Nationals held in Las Vegas. The UCSB Cheer Team placed fourth out of five teams that qualified for the competition finals.
One of the team’s 25 members, Bridget Buck, a third-year communication and psychology major, said the squad qualified for the finals on the first day of the contest. They performed a two-and-a-half minute routine where they were judged on stunting, tumbling, jumping and dancing.
Cheer captain Nicole Zeoli, a third-year communication major, said while the team has already competed in two competitions this year, including the USA Nationals, they would continue to improve their performance.
“Of course there’s always room for improvement, but I feel we did really well,” Zeoli said.
One week prior to the Las Vegas competition, Buck said the squad came in first place in the American Cheer X-Treme Games. She said the team will also compete in the King of the Bleachers competition in Irvine on Feb. 25 – where the team placed first last year – and the U.S. Spirit Leaders Nationals in March.
Along with Zeoli, the team’s co-captains Ashley Fowler, a second-year psychology major, and Robin Brozosky, a second-year communications major, lead weekly 8-hour practices as well as enter their team into competitions and hold fundraising events to go to these meets.
Zeoli said the cheer team – like the UCSB Dance Team – is not officially recognized by the UCSB Athletics Dept. She said the department does not have enough funding to sponsor all athletic teams at UCSB.
“Considering that we’re self-funded and that we don’t have a coach, the team is doing extremely well,” Zeoli said.
Team member Heather Cline, a first-year business economics major, said UCSB’s cheer team performs very well under the direction of the captains.
“We do better than most schools who do have coaches,” Cline said. “It’s impressive.”
The squad will hold tryouts at the end of May, and all students are welcome to audition.