How do you build a winning streak?
One year at a time.
The University of Kentucky cheerleading squad is heading this weekend to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the UCA/UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship.
Having won a total of 20 championships, including an eight-year streak from 1995 to 2002, the squad is looking to start a new trail of victories after coming in second two years ago, then reclaiming the top spot last year, head coach Jomo Thompson said.
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The nine men and seven women will compete in preliminary rounds Saturday. The finals are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Gravity-defying tosses and crisply executed gymnastics are hallmarks of UK's trademark style. Ashley Vennetti, a senior, said new, complex stunts are practiced in a foam pit or in water for safety. Each year, she said, the team takes the competition to a new level.
"We all push to win and push each other," she said. "We feel like we are in competition with ourselves and our alumni."