Ouachita Cheerleaders earn seventh-place finish in national competition

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Ouachita Baptist University’s cheerleading squad has earned a seventh-place finish nationally for the second consecutive year. Walt Disney World Resort in Florida hosted the UCA/UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Jan. 18-20. Ouachita’s team of 14 women and men set a school record in the competition, topping the squad’s previous high score by 5.93 points.

“This year’s team has really pushed themselves beyond their comfort zones,” said Brian Bridges, the cheer squad coach. “The stunts and pyramid sequences that we had in our routine this year are, by far, the most difficult any Ouachita team has ever attempted. Not only did my team attempt these difficult skills – they HIT them with perfection at Nationals!” This is Bridges’ fifth year coaching the cheer team. He led the squad through months of practice in preparation for the national competition.

“Every year I have been here,” said Captain Keena Dickey, “we have upped our game with each routine we took to Orlando. This routine was much more complex, difficult and fast-paced than it has ever been, and it felt so good to go out on the stage and know we were going to hit every part of our routine and leave everything we had on the floor.”

As captain and four-year veteran of the squad, Dickey watches and actively promotes the growth of her teammates. She said she hopes the team will continue developing their skills and breaking records.

“The squad this year was led by many returning members,” Bridges noted. “The leaders played a big role in prepping the team for this level of competition. … Ouachita Cheerleaders continue to raise the bar. I am excited about the direction this program is heading.”

Ouachita’s cheer squad included: Kaylee Barnett, a junior biology major from Mansfield, Texas; Lauren Bundy, a junior biology major from Rogers, Ark.; Mallory Burroughs, a junior biology major from Hot Springs, Ark.; Krista Carlisle, a senior accounting major from Searcy, Ark.; Captain Keena Dickey, a senior biology major from Crossett, Ark.; Lauren Dunklin, a sophomore dietetics and nutrition major from Humphrey, Ark.; John Grove, a junior political science major from Little Rock, Ark.; Hunter Heird, a sophomore dietetics and nutrition major from Pine Bluff, Ark.; Julianna Howard, a freshman mathematics major from Clarksville, Ark.; Paige Onyuru, a junior biology major from Hot Springs, Ark.; April Pitts, a freshman mathematics major from Ward, Ark.; Chandler Tillery, a junior business administration and finance major from Lonsdale, Ark.; Charles Tillery, a senior business administration and management major from Lonsdale, Ark.; and Elizabeth White, a senior mathematics major from Searcy, Ark.

The Ouachita Cheerleaders performed their winning routine during halftime of the Ouachita Tigers’ home basketball game on Jan. 26. To see the routine, visit http://youtu.be/7sJnSG2Cxkg. For more information, contact Brian Bridges at bridgesb@obu.edu or (870) 245-5181.

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