The University of Kentucky cheer squad won its fourth consecutive national championship and 24th overall at the 2019 Universal Cheerleaders Association College Nationals in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.
The three-day event, which also included national dance team competitions and events pitting the best mascots, stunt teams and smaller division schools against each other, culminated in the crowning of the Cats in the UCA’s Division IA co-ed ranks. Morehead State’s co-ed squad won a record 27th title in its division.
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After an exhibition earlier this month, senior Josh Marsh expressed confidence UK would defend its title.
“This is by far the most prepared squad that I’ve ever been a part of,” Marsh said.
The competition measures cheer squads who demonstrate their skills in a number of areas, including fan engagement at games, in order to advance to the UCA finals each January. At the Orlando event, squads showcase a routine that last only about two and half minutes, but showcases its athletic ability and its choreography of traditional and newly imagined cheer moves.
The Cats’ 24 titles have come in 35 years beginning in 1985. Kentucky won a school-record eight straight from 1995 to 2002 .
Also in Division IA, Western Kentucky finished 11th in the all-girl competition and 12th in co-ed.
Morehead State continued its run of unprecedented success in the smaller Division I competition where its co-ed squad won its 27th national championship and fourth in a row.
In addition, the stunt team of Priscilla Thorn, Shelby Snider, Madison Paige, and Raven Marti claimed the “All Girl 4” stunt competition.
Morehead’s all-girl squad placed second and its mascot, Beaker, placed fifth in their respective competitions.
Since it began competing in 1988, Morehead has won 45 UCA national championships in various categories.
Eastern Kentucky placed second behind Morehead in the co-ed competition, its best showing in program history. EKU’s all-girls squad placed eighth in its category.
The Kentucky Dance Team finished in the top 12 in three events at the 2019 Universal Dance Association championship finals also held Sunday in Orlando, led by a fifth place in the Division IA Game Day competition.
The Wildcat dancers earned No. 6 honors in Hip-Hop the fourth year in a row they’ve finished sixth or better. Coach Dawn Walters’ squad took 12th in the Pom competition.