TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, April 1, 2004
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Bring it on
TCU squad shakes it up in Florida competition
Cheerleaders are attending a national championship competition in Daytona, Fla., this weekend.

By Sarah Greene
Staff Reporter

Today the TCU Cheerleaders will shake their purple and silver pom-poms in the preliminary rounds of the Chick-Fil-A Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championship for the first time in seven years.

When head coach Jeff Tucker came to TCU four years ago the team was not ready for a national competition, he said. Since then, a lack of money held the team from attending a national competition, he said.

“Overall, it has been a matter of me working to create funding because it is quite expensive to do a competition,” Tucker said.

Between a $7,800 hotel bill, $5,400 in airfare and more than $2,000 for uniforms and other expenses the competition can total more than $15,000, Tucker said.

Now that the team is at the national competition in Daytona, Fla., they are feeling the excitement and dealing with a few little health issues, Tucker said Wednesday from the competition.

“It’s been so long since we’ve done this we are just trying to get back into the game,” he said.

The squad will perform late in the afternoon and if they make it past finals they will perform on Friday and will air on CBS April 17.

“Our goal is to establish ourselves as a cheerleading powerhouse,” Tucker said. “We are fearless.”

Last year more than seven million people watched nationals and the magnitude of exposure excites the squad.

“It's tough to attract cheerleaders at a high skill level from high school because we have nothing to offer — no scholarships and a low budget,” said Jason Malutich, a sophomore computer science major and one of the squad captains.

The squad will perform the same routine it presented in its tryout video in the preliminary round. The performance begins with 45 seconds of crowd interaction followed by a 2 minute, 15 second routine that showcases everything from pyramids to basket tosses to tumbling, Tucker said.

The squad, consisting of 16 women and four men, will perform in the Division 1-A small co-ed competition.

“My goal was to take the entire squad, but when it came down to it some people just did not have the skill level,” Tucker said.

Winning squads at the national competition receive a trophy, rings and jackets, said Troy Cole, one of the squad members.

The all-around winners receive scholarships or even a new spring floor, Malutich said.
Win or lose, the squad hopes to gain experience, notoriety and have a great time.

“I am so proud of these kids because they have really come together as a squad and sacrificed a lot of time,” Tucker said. “They have guts to step in and do this.”
Stephen Spillman/Staff Photographer
TCU cheerleaders are practicing part of their 3-minute routine with hopes to gain prestige at the national championship today.

Stephen Spillman/Staff Photographer
The 20-member TCU cheerleading squad unites after practicing for the Chick-Fil-A Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championship. This is the first time in seven years the group will go to the event.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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