By CHARLENE SPRINGER
The BYU cheerleaders back-flipped and cheered their way to a second place finish in their national competition on Friday.
The United Spirit Association’s national cheerleading competition was held in Anaheim, Calif. at the Anaheim Convention Center. Fifteen other colleges participated, and the BYU cheer squad held tough and came out near the top.
Coach Lee Jackson said the competition was very tough, but the squad performed very well. “We were just really excited to be able to go,” Jackson said.
The squad competed in two sections: the college co-ed division and the partner stunt division. In the partner stunt division, Brett Eden and Lauri Lyster of the BYU squad took fourth place.
“Brett and Lauri did an excellent job in their routine,” Jackson said.
Eden has been cheerleading for six years, and he said he knows what is expected at a competition. He said it was exciting to be fourth, although a higher place would have been nicer.
“You always hope to do better, but you really can’t expect it,” Eden said.
The main routine for the squad began with a short musical introduction, then a break for a cheer to involve the audience. To finish the routine, the Cougars performed a second musical selection.
The cheerleaders proved their talent by performing two pieces in the routine that had never been done before in competition. One was a double pike-back and the second, called “Y” backs, was a combination lay-out back-tuck. The “Y” back is named such because it was first performed by BYU.
The squad wasn’t going to be able to go to the competition, but a large sum of donated money and the support of athletic administration allowed the squad to attend.
“We were very excited to go,” Jackson said. “We’d like to thank athletic administration for this opportunity.”
The cheerleaders only worked on the routine for a couple of weeks because they were so involved in other events at BYU.
“Most of the other schools started five months ago,” Jackson said. “The squad has done incredibly. They have a lot of natural talent.”
Nate Felt, a captain of the squad, said they were physically ready for the competition. He said he is glad there are so many talented women on the squad to help things run smoothly.
“This competition was a great way to showcase our talents,” Felt said.
Eden saw the routines of other schools, and he said BYU’s routine was more difficult than others. “I felt our routine was more advanced,” Eden said. “In that aspect, we took first.”
Overall, Eden enjoyed the competition. “The performance was worth it,” Eden said. “Winning is always an extra perk.”
Jackson was extremely pleased with the performance of the squad. “The performance was the best they’ve ever done,” Jackson said.