There was history to be made over the weekend at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and the Ball State cheer team did just that. 

The squad traveled down south Jan. 12-14 and Ball State cheerleading finished with a program-best second place in the nation at the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) in Orlando, Florida. 

“Our goals were to hit our routine and represent Ball State University,” co-head coach Brenda Jamerson said. “I’m super proud of this achievement because it wasn’t an easy one, they were hard workers.”

The team’s goal of making it to finals quickly changed as Ball State came out of the preliminary round in first place. Jamerson said the team saw a couple issues in its semi performance, but left all of the issues there as they moved forward. 

“We just told them, you were hoping to make finals and now you’re in first place,” Jamerson said. “We told them to go out there, you have nothing to lose. Then, they literally just blew us away. The routine, the energy, every turn, everything was just phenomenal.” 

Ball State took second place in the Small Co-Ed Division I category. Purdue edged its way to a first place victory in the category, while Alabama-Birmingham finished third. 

After patiently awaiting the results, the team now has a fond memory of being awarded second place. 

“When we were awarded second, we were beyond excited,” freshman cheerleader Raina Gulachek said. “Everyone was overwhelmed with emotions and we were all crying, screaming and hugging each other. At that moment, we felt all of our hard work pay off. 

After months of preparation, returning to Muncie with a second place finish made all of the time spent in the gym more than worth it. 

“Our process going into nationals was quite time consuming,” Gulachek said. “Our team practices every day during Christmas break and to help us prepare, we were able to perform our nationals routine at halftime at two Ball State basketball games and at an Indiana University showcase.”

Jamerson prides her team in making program history with a stand-out performance at nationals, but also looks forward to continuing to perform on its home turf. 

“Ball State has gone to nationals for a lot of years and I think they turned a lot of heads down there,” Jamerson said. “They’re not just a game-cheering team, but they are a competitive team as well.”

Now back home and in the midst of winter and spring sports, the two groups of the cheer squad will continue to cheer at home basketball games and volleyball matches. The squad also makes appearances at various other Ball State athletic events, as well as University and community sponsored outings. 

“Now we go back to support the other athletic teams here at Ball State and cheering them on,” junior cheerleader Dean Witham said. “We’ll also start planning ahead for next year. I think this accomplishment has really put some fire under our butts and showed us and the country how strong of a cheer program we are.”

Contact Kara Biernat with comments at karabiernat@gmail.com