On January 15th, the UC San Diego Dance Team traveled from San Diego, California to Orlando, Florida to compete in the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship. This was the team’s first time attending this competition and they were determined to do their best.
Before the team traveled to Florida they learned that they would be competing against 27 other teams in their category, the largest category in the competition! In order to make it to finals, where only 50% of the teams in each category make it through, the team would have to place in the top 14.
After arriving to the Walt Disney All-Star resorts and attending orientation for the competition, the team quickly settled in before heading off to practice. There was no time to rest with competition being the following morning. Once the team had gone through the routine multiple times and cleaned it to the best of their ability, it was time to get some rest. The team had an early 5:30 am wakeup call to get ready for competition.
Day 1 of competition was finally here! The team and Coach Avila were so excited to see what was in store for them at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the location of the competition. After finding a space for a quick warm up, the team put the finishing touches on their costumes, hair, and makeup, and made their way to check in for competition. The team made the most out of their rehearsal floor time, working on turns in unison and other skills. Finally, it was time to stand on deck and wait for their team to be called. After one final pep talk from Coach Avila, the team was ready to hit the stage and give it their all. The team gave a beautiful and impressive performance, which landed them in 9th place! The team was moving on to finals!
Day 2 of competition had arrived and after a good nights rest, the team was pumped for their Finals performance. Before going to bed, the team and Coach Avila had reviewed their score sheets and judges comments from their first performance. They knew what they had to improve on if they were going to keep or improve from their 9th place. The team got ready and made their way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their final day of competition. Once the team was warmed up, they headed over to check in for competition. After their rehearsal floor time, it was show time! The team was led down a long hallway to the backstage area. Team Captains Natalie Morales and Taylor Williams pumped up the team before walking through the castle and onto the stage. The team let their emotions shine through and gave it everything they had, resulting in a performance that was even better than the previous day.
After watching other routines and divisions in the competition, it was finally time for awards. The team made their way onto the stage and listened hopefully as the announcer called out the final placements. To their surprise, when 9th place was called it was not them. “Eighth Place, The University of California – San Diego”! The team, coach, and supporting family members erupted in applause. The team had improved enough from Day 1 to jump up to 8th Place! Everyone was so excited. This was only the team’s first time attending this competition and for their first time they did an amazing job! The team is very excited to return to the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship next year!