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For the first time in school history, MIT will be represented at the National Cheerleading Association Cheer Championship against 100 other schools, which will be on national television when it takes place in April. They will be judged based on the difficulty of the routine, perfection of the routine, the technique and stability of the various stunts and maneuvers they will perform, and finally the overall impression of the routine. To be able to compete at the NCA Cheer Championship, a squad must have received a bid from the NCA by either attending an NCA sanctioned Cheer camp and wowing the judges, or submitting a video of a routine and being selected that way.

The MIT Cheer Squad, which started as a co-ed club sport in 1968, is organized by students, populated by students, and ultimately run by students. You have probably seen them cheering at the MIT football games and basketball games, but they have also cheered competitively since 2004. Whether it be Course 3 or Course 20, or anything in between, chances are that the MIT Cheer Squad has someone representing that major. The members have a wide variety of interests, and what surprised me the most was that there is a good number of men involved as well. As most of the more advanced maneuvers need males to complete, men are a valuable asset to any squad.

This year, the NCA Cheer Championship will take place from April 10 to April 14 in Daytona Beach, Florida, and will be televised nationally on CBS. The competition format is such that each team will need to perform two routines, one after the other. The first routine is what’s known as the Game Day routine, where the squad demonstrates how they might cheer at a typical sporting event. They may bring banners and flags, but once they start throwing out T-shirts and frisbees to the audience, the routine is shut down. The second routine is the more familiar one you might associate with a cheer competition if you’ve ever seen movies like Bring It On. In this one, the squad performs a two-minute piece set to music, where they demonstrate the cheerleading abilities through the various pyramids, jumps, tosses, tumbling, and partner stunts that they execute.

Needless to say, the MIT Cheer Squad is extremely excited to be going to Nationals this year. This season was actually the first year ever for the MIT Cheer Squad to have a coach, and the results speak for themselves.

Coach Arianna Vahsen-Crosby has the team more focused than ever, and this drive to succeed has them now competing in the National Championships in Daytona. They have the chance to prove to the world that MIT is just as good as any other school when it comes to athletics, and in particular, cheerleading. They hope to show the nation that just because we can do surface integrals with our eyes closed doesn’t mean we can’t pull off a toe touch to back handspring as well. So make sure you tune in to the NCA Cheer Championships this April and show your support for our wonderful MIT Cheer Squad.