The BYU Cougarettes, representing the U.S. National Team, finished second in the Hip Hop Division at the 2019 International Cheer Union World Cheerleading Championships held April 24-26 in Orlando, Florida.
“I could not be more proud of how the team performed and how they represented the United States as well as BYU,” Cougarettes head coach Jodi Maxfield said.
Competing against teams from countries including Mexico, Norway, England, Ecuador and more, the Cougarettes finished only behind Japan in the final hip hop division rankings. The third-place Philippines, however, actually finished ahead of the Cougarettes in the preliminary round of the competition. Senior Nicole Thorley emphasized how determined the team was to give everything they had during the final round to move up in the rankings.
“We actually placed bronze in prelims because the Philippines had beat us,” Thorley said. “We decided that we weren’t okay with that, so we practiced our guts off that night, and we showed up. We were so happy that we improved.”
The Cougarettes’ silver medal adds to a growing collection of impressive accolades, including a recent double first-place finish at the National Dance Alliance National Championships held April 5-6 in Daytona, Florida. Although those wins gave the Cougarettes their 18th and 19th national championships since 1997, the 2019 International Cheer Union World Championships marked the first time the all-girls team had ever competed at an international level.
“It was an incredible honor to be selected to the U.S. National Team,” Maxfield said. “I don’t think it was until we got there and were aware of all the countries that were represented there and what a huge deal it was that we really understood the magnitude of what we needed to accomplish and what we had been entrusted with.”
The International Cheer Union selected the Cougarettes to represent the U.S. after reviewing a video sent in by Maxfield, along with many of the team’s recent accomplishments. Maxfield also noted the team’s viral dance videos with BYU’s mascot Cosmo likely played a part in the team’s selection.
Maxfield admitted that although there were some nerves leading up to the competition, she was confident her team would perform well.
“I’ve coached 29 years and I can’t think of a better team of all the teams I’ve coached to represent the USA,” Maxfield said. “It’s really easy to let the pressure get the best of you and not perform like you hope you’d want to, but I think they handled that with a lot of grace and maturity.”
Looking forward, Maxfield hopes the team can represent the U.S. again at future international competitions.
“I think the U.S. National Team was pleased with the Cougarettes — not only with how they performed on stage but also the way that they represented and conducted themselves,” Maxfield said. “I think they would definitely be willing to choose us again. We’re hopeful.”