Fundraising for Florida Trip

Brittany Lovette, Staff Writer

The Cougar Cheer Challenge dared cheerleaders to raise the funds they need to head down south to the Universal Cheerleaders Association National competition.

Cheerleaders held a competition for local teams Nov. 11.  Sophomore Jessica Reuther said close to 60 cheerleading teams showed up to compete, and over 1,000 athletes performed on the blue mats. The the number of teams was double the number from last year’s Challenge.

“The cheer challenge this year was a huge success. There were hundreds of participants from rec teams, high school teams, and all-star teams,” said sophomore Briana Oswald.

This competition is the team’s biggest yearly fundraiser.  It is used to defray most of the cost of their trip to the UCA nationals.

The findraiser consists of team registration and admission fees and a concession stand where cheerleaders sell a variety of foods for both breakfast and lunch.  There is also the “teddy-grams, which were the first item to sell out.  Parents purchased the greetings, whicher were delivered to chearleaders during the competition. Friends and family of the  cheer team donated most of the items sold.

There was also a stand to sell different types of MU apparel, everything from t-shirts, shorts, sweatpants, to sweatshirts adorned with MU or cheerleading imprints. T-shirts that recognized every team competing at the Challenge were also offered for sale..

This competition also helped the cheerleaders with a  “crowd encouragement tape,” which provides part of their score at the UCA Nationals competition. The cheerleaders performed two sideline cheer sets as they were video taped.  Te tape will be scored by judges, and when the team arrives in Florida to compete, they will already have part of their score.

The Cougar Cheer Challenge helps fund the program as well.

“Since there is doubled the amount of people this year at the CCC [Cougar Cheer Challenge], I hope we have the trip paid for other than our plane tickets because it can be too much to handle when we are finalizing our routine at the end of the semester,” said Reuther.

The Cougar Cheer Challenge also benefits charity.  A Charity Cup contest invited all teams to bring in canned goods to donate to the Dallas Food Pantry and the Salvation Army. One local team managed to bring in more than over 500 canned goods and won the Charity Cup  the morning session of the competition.

“It’s insane how much food these teams brought with them today.  The room is packed with stuff,” said Reuther. “We hope to have everything delivered and picked up by the end of the week.”

According to Reuther, last year’s challenge resulted in 2000 canned goods, and this year the estimate is about 2500.

“It is always a long stressful day but enjoyable as well. With the success of this event and many other fundraisers, our team is able to travel to Florida in January to compete in the UCA National event,” said Oswald.

In January last year, the team headed down to nationals with a perfect score on the crowd encouragement tape, and they brought back a fifth place national title, the highest place in MU history. The team competed in the All-Girl Division II finals against fifteen other teams, including Kutztown University, Slippery Rock University, University of Scranton, and Delaware Valley College.

“Last year when we competed, we placed fifth in the nation, and this year we hope to place in the top three and beat our ranking as fifth in the nation,” said Reuther.

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