Like all college students, UNC Pembroke’s cheerleaders dream about spending spring break at Daytona Beach.
However, the UNCP’s award-winning Cheer Squad wants to bring back more than sunburn from Florida. They are dreaming of national championships.
For the first time, the University’s Cheer Squad has been invited to compete in the National Collegiate Competition at Daytona Beach beginning March 31. They earned the invitation by sending in videotapes.
UNCP’s Cheer Squad got some good competitive experience under their belts by winning Cheer Ltd.’s Holiday Cheer Classic held in Fayetteville on December 6. They also were put on the cover of Cheer Ltd.’s spring news magazine.
The word around campus is that this is UNCP’s best squad ever.
“This is the best cheerleading group I’ve ever seen at UNCP,” said University Photographer Bobby Ayers, who has been photographing UNCP’s cheerleaders for 17 years. “They are doing stunts that have never been attempted here.”
Being able to compete at the next level is what it’s about in athletics, Athletic Director Dan Kenney said.
“UNC Pembroke is very proud of the achievements and improvements of the 2003-04 Cheer Team under the leadership Coach Chris McIntyre,” Kenney said. “We are excited that the team has earned the right to compete at the next level. We are also excited about them participating at the Peach Belt Conference Championship in Augusta, Ga. on March 6.”
To get to the championships, the squad will have to raise the majority of their own funds, McIntyre said. “We’re going to put on clinics, have sales and some direct mail too,” McIntyre said.
“We’re really excited about going to a national competition during spring break, and we’re going to work hard.”
McIntyre, a 1998 UNCP graduate and a veteran of UNCP cheerleading himself, knows it will take dedicated athletes to win an elite competition.
“We’ve been working real hard, and we need to because the competition will be coming from top teams from all over the country and some from right here in the Peach Belt,” he said. “This is a good experience. Something we can build on.”
“We’ll be ready,” McIntyre said. “We hope our friends will help take us to the top.”
Members of the UNCP Cheer Squad include: Jolee Fedak of Laurinburg, Lauren Newsome of Greensboro, Christina Fiorentino of Shalotte, N.C., Julie Tobias of Stoughton, Mass., Erica Locklear of Pembroke, Dezia Chavis of Maxton, Nina Oxendine of Pembroke, Laura Reid of Jacksonville, N.C., Brittany Garrison of Gastonia, Shamar Allen of Charlotte, Carl McLaurin of Laurinburg, Byron Locklear of Pembroke, Josh Deese of Pembroke, Richard Cole of Rowland, Kelvin Berotte of Kinston, Philip Oxendine of Pembroke and Ryan Locklear of Pembroke.