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Howard Cheer Takes Second Place at Weekend MEAC Championship

Contributing Writer

Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 23:03

HU Cheer

Photo by Justin Knight

he Howard University came in third place overall in the is weekend’s MEAC tournament only falling behind Morgan State and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

The Howard University cheerleading team boarded their bus at noon Saturday to head to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the MEAC Cheerleading Competition. By Sunday night, the team left the Joel Coliseum and boarded the same bus back to the District, this time with two trophies in hand.

Out of eight schools in this particular category, Howard's Cheerleading Squad won second place in the all-girls division. Overall, they placed third behind Morgan State and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. Eleven schools competed in total.

Between performances, the participants and audience mascot dance-offs and high school exhibitions kept the crowd entertained. There was even a performance by a special needs cheerleading team from an area high school.

 According to the rules, each team has to create a routine that's no longer than three minutes. It is judged based on stunts, dancing, cheering, motions, technique, appearance, audience participation and skills such as jumping, tumbling, and tosses.  The Howard cheer team had been working on their routine since December with the help of their competition coach, Marcus Ewell.

"He makes up our routine, but we have a lot of input," junior health management major and cheer back spotter, Stephanie Pace said. "He lays down the foundation and we finalize the end result."

Although Howard is not a stranger to the MEAC championship, it is not often that the team comes home with trophies, especially more than one.

"Usually Howard University has gone to the MEAC competition," said Courtney Wesley, a junior sports medicine major and main base on the cheer team. "We've been the last 2 years, but the last time we were given a trophy was when Howard placed third in 2008."

Wesley said the moment they won 2nd place was "bittersweet" because she knew they could have won first.

"We had a mistake in our stunt. We were deducted five points for our fall and that was the five points we needed for 1st place," Wesley said.

Both Pace and Wesley believe more support would help the team perform at the highest level. Others may not be aware that the cheer team wants someone to root for them when they compete as well.

"We were fortunate enough to have the support of the men's and women's basketball teams which is a big help," Wesley said. "While you're there a lot of people from the area come to support their teams. And it gets lonely out there being all the way from D.C."

    Next year, the competition will be held in Norfolk, Va. and the cheer team hopes Howard could pay for a busload of fans to support them at the completion. As the team isn't recognized as an athletic team, they don't get any funding from the university.

"We bring home trophies, so we feel like we deserve some support from the school," Pace said.

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