Texan Stars, Cheer finish second at NDA, NCA Collegiate Dance, Cheer Championships
STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton's Dance team, the Texan Stars, and the Texan Cheerleading squad along with the Texan Rider mascot, each claimed second place finishes Friday at the NCA & NDA College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Texan Stars completed their season by placing second in Division II Team Performance.
Tarleton's Texan Stars earned a bid to this year's national competition while attending 2019 NDA collegiate camp at SMU in Dallas. From there, the dance team was invited to Daytona Beach and competed in two rounds, which began Thursday with six teams.
The Texan Stars were in second place trailing by .14 points among the six finalists heading into Friday's finals round.
"Coming out of prelims, we were focused and ready to make the necessary changes suggested by the judges. Only being behind first place by .14 points gave us the drive to stay up late, make the necessary changes, and prepare for redemption on finals day," said Texan Stars Coach Elizabeth Walker, who's in her second year leading the dance team.
"This team overcame so many obstacles over the last year and never stopped fighting for that first-place spot. I could not be prouder of this team and program. Out of the 13 members on mat, only one had ever been to NDA Nationals, competed for a collegiate team or even touched that Nationals mat. Holding second place by .14 of a point and finishing in second by less than a point of a difference is absolutely incredible! These young ladies represented Tarleton and our program to their highest potential and have made us all so proud. I couldn't have asked for a better first year!"
The dance team performance is an all-around competition that includes three styles of dance: jazz, pom and hip-hop. Teams are limited to a two-minute and fifteen second performance and are judged on performance impression, uniformity, staging and collegiate image, plus each of the three areas of jazz, pom and hip-hop quality and choreography.
The Texan Stars finished in second place with a raw score of 86.10 behind Davenport University with a score of 86.94. Placing behind Tarleton was Texas Women's in third place, Oklahoma Baptist in fourth, UT Tyler in fifth, and Gannon University in sixth place.
The Texan Stars began practicing for their national's routine, choreographed by Meleka Simon, in December of 2020.
Tarleton Cheer competed in Advanced Small Coed Open for the first time in school history and came out with a second-place finish.
The four male and 13 female squad was sitting fourth after prelims due to some building mistakes. They practiced that evening and went over the judges' critiques so that they could redeem themselves for finals and that's exactly what they did. They improved their score from an 88.6667 to a 93.3667. Prelims carries a weight of 25% with finals being the 75% with a final score of 92.1917 which secured the second place finish behind Lindenwood who scored a 95.2667. Gannon was third with a 91.4208 and Limestone College was fourth with a 91.05.
The small coed routine was choreographed by former Texan Cheerleader and current Graduate Assistant Madison Scott.
"I could not be prouder of this team; they could've easily given up but instead they fought harder because they had something to prove," said head coach Blaine Hamilton.
Not only did Cheer take a team to Florida to compete, but they also had a team compete virtually here at Tarleton in Stephenville.
NCA created a brand-new division for virtual only this year called Spirit Rally. They allowed the virtual teams to compete in two divisions, so the team decided they were up for the challenge. The Spirit Rally Squad was made up of 19 cheerleaders and the Texan Rider Mascot. This routine was a routine that fans would see at a basketball timeout or halftime. The skills were restricted to those allowed without a cheer safety mat.
There were nine teams in this open division. Tarleton was sitting second after prelims and remained second in the finals round with a score of 96.2. The first-place team was North Texas with a 98.63, while Davidson College finished third with a 91.77.
"I am so excited that we decided to compete in this division, this routine was fun and exciting and what we would normally do at a basketball game pre-covid," said head coach Blaine Hamilton.
The other virtual competition was the Game Day Division. The 30-member Game Day squad was made up of 19 cheerleaders, along with three Plowboys, three PANKUS members, three drumline members, one twirler and the Texan Rider Mascot.
"This was the first time we have been able to include PANKUS, the drumline and twirler and it was such a unique experience," added Hamilton. "Virtual is tough, with homecoming week falling the same week as prelims videos getting these 30 individuals together was not easy but we made it happen."
"This year was different, this year was hard for everyone," said Hamitlon. "We know Game Day is a subjective division and felt good coming out of prelims with the changes we made based off of the judges' comments. We then got our final scores and had dropped from a 91.82 to an 85.83, I was in shock. The judges from finals did not see the same routine as the prelims judges and it really hurt us. We are better than last; we will be back for redemption in 2022."
Tarleton Cheer won the inaugural Game Day Division II in 2018 and finished second in 2019. Due to COVID-19 the 2020 NCA College National Competition was canceled.
Tarleton Cheer is coached by head coach Blaine Hamilton who is in her seventh year and assisted by Madison Scott who is in her second year.
Tarleton will return to the NCA and NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships next spring.
The complete results can be found at tv.varsity.com.