The University of Kentucky cheerleaders won first place in the Universal Cheerleaders Association Division 1A national championship in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday. It was the team's 20th national championship and came a year after a rare second-place finish to Memphis University.
“When you finally hear second place called and then they call first place, it’s a lot of emotion, a lot of joy,” Coach Jomo Thompson told UKAthletics.com. “We just feel vindicated, especially after coming in second place last year. We wanted to make sure we got back to the top and we did that.”
The universities of Central Florida and Alabama came in second and third in UK's division this year. Memphis was 10th.
Kentucky has won eight national titles in the 12 years that Thompson has been coach.
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“I’m just fortunate to have been a part of this program for so long and I love UK,” said Thompson, a former UK cheerleader. “I’m just glad I’m here to experience it with the kids. We strive every day to be the best. It’s just a great thing that we’ve won so many times. It just speaks to the history and the tradition of winning and to be the best.”
Kentucky's dance team also competed this weekend, finishing fifth in the Division IA Hip Hop finals.
On Saturday, the Morehead State University cheerleaders won the all-girl Division I national championship, the squad's 35th championship, and placed second in the coed competition. The University of West Georgia and Slippery Rock University came in second and third.