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.
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."