5 Teams To Watch At UDA College National Dance Championships 2016

 

UDA college nationals 2016

UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships are this weekend, and we all know what that means – my blog is about to go hog freakin’ wild.

Dance team nationals are honestly some of my favorite things ever. They’re these super boiled down displays of teamwork, an intensified showcase of athleticism and artistry all into one two and a half minute routine. I’ve always said that something that makes dance team so unique as a sport is that the stakes are so high – it’s not like we get multiple games to rack up a good record; we can’t just “play better next week.” We have to own it for those two minutes we’re out there, and if we don’t, all of the months of hard work are gone.

It’s so thrilling, which is why I keep up with it so closely, even when it’s a competition I don’t go to, and even when I’m already a year out of college.

In anticipation of the big weekend, here are my top picks to keep your eye out for at UDA 2015 college nationals:

  1. University of Minnesota and University of Tennessee Division IA Jazz

Yes, I’m going to put these two together because while I’m super pumped to see what these teams do individually every year, what I’m really looking forward to this year is seeing the absolute showdown that we all know is coming. In 2015 Tennessee blew up the universe by beating University of Minnesota in 1A jazz using the same song as Minnesota. Gauntlet thrown.

I’m going to have to preface my prediction with this: University of Tennessee has always been my favorite collegiate dance team at UDA, and their 2009 Iris routine is my all-time favorite. That said, I don’t think they’re going to win out this year. Minnesota has to be coming back with their talons blazing, ready to do anything to regain their dynasty. I know they’ve had good old Carl Mundt in practice from time to time, and their camp routine was flawless. Tennessee’s camp routine was more their usual thang, which means I was kind of underwhelmed considering their mind-boggling routine from last year.

Needless to say, I’m going to be on the edge of my fucking seat waiting to see how this one plays out.

  1. University of Cincinnati Division IA Hip-Hop

SLAAAAAY KWEEN, SLAY. Last year the University of Cincinnati took it all with their hip-hop routine, and rightfully so. It was honest to God the most innovative hip-hop routine I have ever seen (and I’ve seen Brigham Young University at NDA nationals live in the flesh four times, so that’s really saying something). I’m honestly just curious to see if Cinci can follow that up. I know they’re going to be amazing, but they made enormous shoes for themselves to fill, and I’m wondering if that’ll even be possible.

  1. University of Central Oklahoma Open Jazz, Open Hip-Hop

UCO!!! These bad bitches were always in my team’s division at NDA, and I was super shocked last year to see that they changed competitions. Truth be told, they usually got totally screwed every year at NDA, so I was really excited to see that they took the plunge in UDA instead.

Last year they got fifth in Open Jazz and 10th in hip-hop which is unbelievable for newbies at UDA if you ask me. I always loved competing against these girls, and really respected what they brought to the table. They’re fierce competitors, and I’m really pulling for them to improve both finishes from last year.

  1. St. Joseph’s University Division I Pom

What would this article be without a little bit of love for the pom girls? It’s so awkward because I feel like as a jazz dancer, I never really hear about pom, but oh my God is it hard to do. I have such respect for these ladies, and I have to tip my cap to them in this article.

St. Joseph’s was last year’s winner, and that’s especially notable because in 2014 they came in fifth. That’s an crazy jump and I have so much respect for that. I’m super curious to see if it was a fluke or if they’re going to create some sort of DI pom dynasty that we all follow as closely as Minnesota’s.

  1. Arizona State University Division IA Jazz

…because they got robbed.

Not to say the people who beat them weren’t good, but these girls got sixth place AND DANCED TO A GODDAMN A CAPELLA VERSION OF MY HEART WILL GO ON. Not only is that song generally epic, but dance teaming to a capella music is damn near impossible and I will forever be impressed by this. I could literally feel the passion of Celine dripping out of their pores.

Plus, they had a straight up fall on a girl’s butt during that dance and nobody talked about it (although maybe that’s because none of us could shut up about Tennessee and Minnesota). If that’s not impressive then I really don’t know what is.

I’m seriously so excited to see if these girls can go back to their circa 2012 prowess and not get absolutely screwed this year.

5 Coed Teams to Watch at NCA Nationals 2015

nca 5 teams to watch

Guys! I’ts that time of year! National Cheer and National Dance Alliance Collegiate Nationals! Words cannot describe how excited I am because I’m finally writing about the national competition that my team attends. How freaking cool is that? These are the teams I’m so excited to see, and I get the honor of seeing them in person.

Since I attend NDA nationals and have, yaknow, my whole college career, it hasn’t just been about the dance for me. It’s been about cheer, too. So, I’ve decided to count down the five teams I’m most excited to see at NCA nationals. These are all co-ed teams (although some might have all girl counterparts), mostly because co-ed is really exciting because the guys are so strong and can throw the flyers pretty much anywhere they want… like last year I saw for the first time a basket toss where a dude was the flyer. What?! I freaked out.

All of these teams were selected because they’re either legendary, or generally have really awesome sportsmanship– some of them even have both. Although I had my little stunt (haha, pun totally intended) with cheerleading my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I really don’t know much of the technique of it all, but I sure do know which teams get me pumped up and which teams make me say wow. And that’s what cheerleading is about, right?

1. The University of Louisville Cheer IA, Small Coed IA

What would this list be without the Cards? They lost three stunts in small coed last year and still won. What? That’s how amazing these kids are. And their routine in Cheer IA was nearly perfect– the only problem was that OSU’s routine was more perfect. Something that will always have me cheering for Louisville, though, is how much I freaking respect their coach, Todd Sharp. He’s a legend in the spirit world and such a class act. It’s hard not to get behind a team that he coaches.

2. Oklahoma State University Cheer IA, Small Coed IA

Just like I couldn’t post this list without Louisville, I couldn’t post it without OSU. They’re perennial favorites with the Cards, and it’s always so exciting to see the two teams go head to head yet again. OSU has some of the cleanest tumbling I’ve ever seen, and it blows my mind apart, and I can’t wait for them to blow my mind further. Fun fact about OSU: whenever I think of them, I think about the time I saw one of the boys on their team carrying around a stick that they all slid their national champion rings onto, and it was one of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen.

3. Stephen F. Austin State Cheer I, Small Coed I

What’s really weird about SFA is that they are so much better in smoed than in large, which for whatever reason, doesn’t tend to be the case for other teams. Does SFA just spend more time on this team? Or what? Either way, I’m obsessed and am dying to see what they do this year in smoed. These folks kill it with energy every freaking year.

4. Navarro College Junior College

Do Navarro students just study cheerleading all day? Because holy crap. They are UNREAL. It’s so weird because even though they’re in the junior college division, this team could totally hold its own in DI or DIA. Like, they’re a total dynasty and have owned junior college for years. Unlucky ducks for the other folks in their division, huh?

5. Texas Tech University Cheer IA

Okay, okay, I admit it– one of my favorite parts of TTU’s cheer team is that the boys on it are the prettiest male cheerleaders at the entire event, but that’s not the whole reason why I love them! TTU is such a strong contender in cheer IA, and I love every year being able to see them get closer and closer on OSU and Louisville. I hope I get to see them creep up on those two teams even further this year. Nothing like a super close competition to get your blood rushing, am I right?

Who are you all excited to see cheer at NCA Nationals? Are there any kickass all girl teams that you think should be highlighted? Let me know!