Sam Houston State University took away top honors in the National Cheerleaders Association/National Dance Association Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship held at Daytona Beach, Fla. April 7-11.
The Orange Pride Dance Team and Sammy the Bearkat won the 2010 national championship in each of their categories. The teams are formally associated with SHSU’s Department of Student Activities’ Spirit Programs.
“We are so proud of the Orange Pride Dance Team, Sammy the Bearkat and the mascot program,” said Brandon Cooper, assistant director of student activities at Sam Houston State.
“They continually work hard to improve the standards of the teams they are involved with, and it has paid off. This is such an amazing accomplishment for them as students and for the university as a whole,” he said.
The Sam Houston State University Orange Pride Dance Team won the 2010 National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate National Championship in Open Division 1 Friday afternoon (April 9).
Sam Houston State’s dance team was the top seed going into the competition, winning the division competition over Weber State, Illinois State, University of Texas at Arlington, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw University and others.
The team consists of 16 members and is coached by senior health major and former dance team captain Sarah Knigge of Killeen.
On the following day (Saturday, April 10) SHSU’s Sammy the Bearkat won the Mascot Nationals, also in Daytona, in a competition featuring mascots from 10 schools.
Criminal justice major Jarrod Leftwich, of Linden, is the life behind Sammy’s character.
He won over four other mascots including second place winner Sharky from Hawaii Pacific University and third place winner Mr. Wuf from North Carolina State University. Also placing were the mascots from Western Kentucky University and Cal State-Long Beach.
Leftwich was selected to compete with the other mascots from his preliminary video entry. At the competition, he was required to perform a 90-second skit, which was judged on a variety of factors including creativity, props and usage of the props, characterization and crowd response.
Almost 5,000 student athletes and 15,000 spectators convened for the Daytona Beach competition. The NCA/NDA Collegiate Championship is the largest College Cheer and Dance Championship in the world.
The competitions will be aired on Fox Sports Network on April 24-26.