Another national championship. Ho hum.
OK, that wasn’t exactly the reaction of the Wilmington University cheerleading squad, but national titles are becoming routine for the Wildcats.
For the fifth straight year, they took home the top trophy in the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) Small Coed Division competition, held in Orlando in January.
Jeff Martino, in his 11th year at the helm of the Wildcats, had a bit of a challenge this year because of the team’s inexperience.
“This is one of the most talented teams we have ever had at Wilmington, but it is also the youngest,” says Martino. “Nine of the 16 competitors never set foot on the college national floors until this year. As coaches, we are always wrestling with the level of difficulty that should be included in the routine. The goal is to put your athletes in a position to be successful by choreographing a routine with the highest level of difficulty while executing it with a high level of confidence.”
With a note of pride, Martino adds, “Under the greatest amount of pressure, the team stepped up and made a difficult routine look easy.”
WilmU also had a pair of stunt groups in the competition. The Partner Stunt Girls “4” squad of Corinne Carney, Alyssa Haines, Alyssa Kalafut and Dominique Tee finished tied for fourth overall, the best placing in program history. The quad team beat the likes of teams from Purdue, Liberty and the University of Delaware.
The partner stunt group of Kristen Basquill and Ryan Hertz placed fifth overall in the Coed Championship.
“Being a four-time national champion is a feeling you don’t get very often,” says Carney. “Every time you win, the hunger grows, and you want to come back for another one. The work the team puts forth, inside and outside of practice, makes us confident when competing at nationals. Our team this year was very young, and some people thought that would make this year’s championship run too hard to overcome. But we were able to come together and trust the person standing next to us to complete the job and earn our fifth straight national championship.” WU