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SU Cheer Makes History with Third-Place National Championship

SU CheerSALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s cheerleading team recently earned third-place at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Collegiate Cheer Championship, a first in program history. 

Coach and alumna Kristin Morris’16, and a team of 14 students athletes competed in Daytona, FL, in the Cheer: Intermediate All-Girl Division III bracket. 

In the day one preliminaries, the team placed third with a raw score of 83.5 and a performance score of 91.3. The team held that ranking for the day two finals and earned a raw score of 83.3, a performance score of 92 and event score of 91.9, with a maximum score of 100 possible. 

“To know how hard the team worked and to see them executing the routine flawlessly was such a special moment of pride for me,” said Morris. “They left it all on the mat and came back even better than the first day to finish strong. It paid off, and their ability to handle the pressure of competing led us to a top three finish that SU had yet to reach.” 

Morris, who landed the head coach position within the same year she graduated from SU and the team, brings inspiration to the forefront of her choreography and coaching style. 

“It’s important for me to share my experiences as a former cheerleader and how passionate I am about it,” she said. “As a coach, showing your own love for the sport and sharing lessons you’ve learned is crucial, especially when some may not have ever competed before."

The 2021-22 season brought other firsts for the group, which, like many organizations, had to rebuild and bond a new team after returning from a hiatus due to COVID-19. The combined game and competition team of 17 students had only six returning students who were freshman and sophomores before the pandemic, and of those, only two previously had competed. 

One of the returning cheerleaders, Gracie Bowie, a junior physical education major from Waldorf, MD, had complete faith that the team would succeed due to the dedication put forth to make up for lost time. 

“I think everyone was so excited to be back in person and on a team again that it was so easy to connect instantly and be committed to our goals to come back better than ever,” she said. “From team dinners and practices three nights a week, to supporting SU events and participating in bonding activities, it was as if we’ve cheered together for years.” 

SU CheerEven when it came to the day of the competition, Bowie knew things were different this time around for the team.               

“All our hard work led us to that moment, and it’s like we peaked as a team at exactly the right time,” she said. “There’s a realization in the midst of it all of that we can do this, we know the routine so just be confident and give it all you have, and that’s exactly what we did.” 

As Morris and the team look ahead to next season, it’s time to recruit more students and relay the same passion and excitement to others in order to continue the squad’s success. 

“Something that the pandemic taught us all is that you never know when your last time cheering will be so take every opportunity to while you can,” said Morris. “I strongly encourage participation in athletics and organizations in college. Doing so can be a life-changing experience and typically is the furthest you can go, especially with cheerleading, so why not see it through? You could even end up making school history.” 

2022-23 SU Cheer tryouts are Sunday, May 15, in Maggs Gym. For more information, follow the team on Instagram @SalisburyCheer or email Morris.

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