The Troy University Cheer team traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the Universal Cheerleaders Association cheer competition and made it to finals for the first time since 2017.
Rannon Pasibe, a senior member of the cheer team and a criminal justice major, said the team worked strenuously since before the beginning of the year for No. 6 in the nation in their division.
“Starting at the beginning of December, my team and I practiced two or three times a day until we left for Orlando on January 12,” Pasibe said.
“Our practices consisted of repping stunts, pyramids and tumbling until we were satisfied with our performance at that practice.”
The road to the finals was not a smooth one. The team had to perfect technique, difficulty, crowd effectiveness and overall performance.
These are qualities that the judges considered when choosing who would continue to the next round.
“Our typical practice day started with a 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. practice for our traditional routine,” Pasibe said.
“We then left for lunch and came back at 2 – 4 p.m. to practice our gameday routine.
“We came back again at 6 p.m. to finish the night out with another traditional practice.”
Assistant coach Danielle Butler explained that the process of making it to finals was not only physical but mental.
“As coaches, we tested their mental strength to keep pushing and fight even when we failed at the time,” Butler said.
Pasibe described the journey to finals as an emotional rollercoaster filled with blood, sweat and tears.
“The team had faced many adversities throughout the nation’s season,” Pasibe said. “We had many injuries and trials come in the way of our preparation for nationals.
“But through these hardships, it only made us better as we learned to deal with adversity and trust the teammates competing alongside us.”
Not everyone on the cheer team was able to attend nationals.
Butler said that only a select few cheerleaders were chosen to compete on the competition team.
“The selection process for choosing was based on skills, attitude and work ethic we as coaches observed throughout the year,” Butler said.
Though Pasibe expressed that he was upset that this chapter of his college career has come to a close, he knows that his hard work is part of the foundation of many more victories to come.
“I can’t wait to see what Troy cheer has in store for them in the coming years as they use this performance as a stepping stone for years to come,” Pasibe concluded.