Cheer and power dancers nab summer awards

André Averion | Mercury Staff

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The UTD Cheer Team and Power Dancers brought home two DIII team awards, four individual awards and paid bid invitations on July 24 after attending the National Cheer Associationand National Dance Association, or NCA/NDA, collegiate summer camp at the Southern Methodist University.

The NCA/NDA collegiate summer camp took place from July 21–23, marking a time for competitive teams across the nation to acquire new skills and earn bids towards the national competition that will take place inspring 2024. The Power Dancers earned a silver bid, and the Cheer Team earned a bronze bid at the end of the camp. Bids act as tiered paid invitations with bronze, silver and gold signifying how much hosts may pay for their invitation based on their camp performances. Spirit Program director Miguel Hernandez said it was an exciting start to the season.

“It was great! It’s almost like a mini summer competition, but both [teams] get bids to go to nationals for that next April and we both got a bid to go,” Hernandez said. “Mascots will submit a video later on throughout the year to get their bid to go to nationals, but summer’s been good.”

The UTD Spirit Program won first place in both Team Dance DIII and Game Day DIII before following up in 3rd place for the Rally Routine Small Intermediate CoEd Opening. Three power dancers won individual awards. Ruby Perry, power dance captain and psychology seniornot only placed as an All American, which is a high honor given by NDA Staff to perform across the world for special events, but also placed as the Top Gun for leaps for the second time in a row, a prestigious recognition of a dancer’s skill.

Perry wasn’t alone in being invited to the All American honors. Both Leila Akhavan, power dance captain and neuroscience junior, and psychology junior Riley Glowacki made the All American invite.

This could be the last season the UTD Spirit Program is in the DIII NCA/NDA. Following the athletics department, Hernandez claims they will be admitted into DII as well, but according to the athletics director Angela Marin, the Spirit Program will not be eligible for the same scholarships that the NCAA is known for since they are separate organizations.

“Totally separate, yes. Just because they don’t fall under the NCAA umbrella, they have a totally separate budget,” Marin said.

Until the transition is finalized, the cheer team and Temoc mascot are both still looking for members for the 2023–24 season, with cheer captains only being solidified as of Aug. 9 with criminology sophomore Olivia Martinez and biology junior Hannah Lowery. While applications ended Aug. 14, Hernandez expressed that they’ll be keeping their interest form up for the first few weeks of school.

“We just like to see how the first two weeks will go and then if we want to add some more,” Hernadez said. “We will be holding an audition for cheer and mascots again, and possibly the power dancers.”


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