Nov. 7, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - One of the nation's top spirit programs will once again be vying for another title as the UCF cheerleaders and KnightMoves have qualified for the 2009 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship. The event will take place at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista Jan. 16-18 and be broadcast by ESPN.
The Knights' cheerleading squad ranked second in the South Region and second overall, which tied for their highest ranking to date to help them earn one of four at-large paid bids. UCF now serves as one of eight Division IA teams to receive an automatic bid directly into the finals.
"Receiving a bye directly into the finals is an important step toward our goal in January," said head coach Linda Gooch. "We are pleased with our preseason ranking as one of the nation's top teams. We have a great group of student-athletes who are working extremely hard to make another run at the national title. Five of this year's team members were on our championship team in 2007 so they know what it takes. We now have 10 weeks to prepare both mentally and physically for the weekend of the championships."
Only Kentucky placed ahead of the Black and Gold, while Alabama, LSU and Memphis rounded out the top five in arguably the most competitive region in the United States. UCF also ranked No. 2 last season going into the competition.
UCF's dance team, KnightMoves, picked up an invite to the semifinals, placing 14th in the country. Only five schools earned fully paid bids into the finals. Meanwhile, Amy Winn and Mike Pucci were named one of just 29 duos to be invited to the event in the coed partner stunt competition.
The UCF cheerleaders claimed the 2003 and 2007 national titles and were the runner-up in 2002. The Knights have recorded 13 top 10 performances in the last 15 years, including an impressive third-place showing in 2008.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.