Nov. 9, 2009
By Brian Ormiston
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF spirit program has always been one of the best in the nation. And it once again will be back in the spotlight this year as the Knights learned they have qualified for the 2010 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship at Disney's Wide World of Sports from Jan. 15-18.
"Getting the automatic bye into the Division IA finals is an important step and certainly we are all excited about winning the South Region for the first time," said head coach Linda Gooch. "Similar to the rankings for the NCAA Tournament, we are happy to have the seeding, happy to have the bye and excited about the recognition that it brings to our school and our program, but the really hard work is still ahead.
"This year's team is led by a group of seniors who were freshmen on the 2007 team that won the national title. These seniors understand that this ranking is just one of many steps toward our ultimate goal of successfully competing for another national championship."
The UCF cheer squad, after being ranked second in the South Region the last two years, received a paid bid straight to the finals thanks to a No. 1 ranking in the South by the Universal Cheerleaders Association. Alabama and Kentucky tied for second while Memphis followed as those three schools received at-large spots. This marks the first time that the UCF cheer program has won the South Region.
Meanwhile, UCF's dance team, Knight Moves, placed 13th to nab at at-large bid into the semifinals. And in the partner stunt division, Lauren Whitt and Mike Pucci qualified to represent UCF in the partner stunt competition as well.
The UCF cheerleaders won the national title in both 2003 and 2007, and have recorded 14 top-10 performances in the last 16 years, highlighted by third-place finishes in 2008 and 2009.
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