Pom and cheer take on Nationals in Orlando


Tenneal Howard

Pom and cheer competed on the stage pictured above at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Pom competed the 22nd and 23rd, cheer competed the 23rd and 24th.

On Apr 22, pom and cheer traveled to Orlando, Florida to compete at Universal Cheer/Dance Association (UCA/UDA) Nationals which took place at the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) Wide World of Sports Complex. Typically, the teams go to California for Nationals, but this year they traveled to Florida for what varsity cheer coach Desiree Houg called “a bigger, more prestigious competition.”

“This competition is huge,” varsity pom coach Tenneal Howard said, “there were over 60 teams just on the dance side…we learned a lot from [them].”

With over 100 teams in total, there were multiple groups and divisions for the teams to be placed into. Pom competed in Small Varsity Jazz and Small Varsity Pom, and they placed 8th out of 19 teams in Small Varsity Jazz and 4th out of 21 teams in Small Varsity Pom. Cheer competed in Small Varsity Division One as well as Medium Game Day Division One, placing 10th out of 16 teams in Small Varsity, and 4th out of 5 teams in Medium Game Day. 

“I think our routines could have gone better,” senior cheerleader Sofia Voronova said adding, “but we did so much better than we expected and I am so proud of the team for doing what we did.”

Of all the other Arizona teams that attended this same competition, pom scored the highest in both their categories. Even disregarding the fact that this was the first time the pumas attended this nationwide competition, the teams did very well. They both hope to use this competition as a learning experience as well as an irreplaceable memory for those who participated.