North Carolina A&T cheerleaders make history in national competition

Dollita Okine April 19, 2024
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Cheerleading Program has brought its first championship title home. Photo: – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

The cheerleading squad of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has won the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) and National Dance Alliance (NDA) College National Championship, earning it its first-ever championship title.

Just two other teams from historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs) were among the 14 contestants in the Intermediate Small Coed Division I group, where the N.C. A&T team won first place with a score of 97.6412.

Last year, the squad (Aggie cheerleaders) missed first place from among 21 teams by less than one point. But this year, on what they dubbed “Road 2 Redemption,” they made history by being the first HBCU team to win both this division title and the first HBCU team in North Carolina to win an NCA National Championship.

The team’s co-captain, Santana Baker, told the school’s website, “When we heard that we didn’t get second, it was like a sense of relief and all I could do was thank God. Finally, the win that we’ve been working hard since last time we stepped foot into Daytona.”

A&T’s team received the third-highest final score out of 372 groups in the tournament. Team member Janiya Croxie remarked, “We practiced for it. We planned for it. We manifested it. And to see it actually come true is just a great feeling.”

The 2023 Aggie squad members were the first team from the university to compete in the national competition. They also left their mark on the competition last year as the first team to represent an HBCU from North Carolina in at least 20 years.

As someone who participated in the national competition as a college student, Daniel Kearns-Pickett, the head cheerleading coach for the Aggies, stated that this year’s achievements are a significant advancement for both HBCUs and A&T’s program.

Kearns-Pickett commented, “This was more than just winning and making history. For me, it was all about my athletes understanding who they are and truly knowing they can accomplish anything in this world.”

Meanwhile, Xavier University of Louisiana, another HBCU, emerged victorious in the Advanced Large Coed National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics category, winning its second championship in five years.

With a final score of 91.3375, the team defeated Westcliff, which had a score of 89.7166, according to ClutchPoints.

In 2022, the team earned its first national title, a landmark achievement as the institution’s first NAIA-sponsored national title in any sport.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 19, 2024


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