WLU cheer team prepare for Daytona with showcase event

WLU cheer at a Cheersport event.

On Sunday, April 3, the West Liberty University cheerleaders had their last showcase before packing their bags for the National Cheerleading Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla. The team performed their competition routine in the ASRC in front of a supportive Hilltopper crowd on Sunday night for the last time in preparation for the big event.

The showcase was used as an opportunity for the squad to perform their routine and practice their skills in front of an audience. The routine comprises several elements including stunts, tumbling and dance in an intense, high energy performance. “Events like this help a lot because a lot of the girls on this team either have never competed in a cheer competition or performed a routine in front of everyone, and then for a lot of us that have, it’s been a few years because of Covid. So, it’s just a good way for everyone to get used to being in front of people, get used to motions and how to recover if things mess up,” said Baylee Fram, a member of the WLU Cheer Team.

The National Cheerleading Championship occurs annually in Daytona Beach, Fla. The event, presented by the National Cheer Association (NCA) and National Dance Association (NDA), brings together teams from all over the country to compete for the chance to bring home gold. Teams work year-round to prepare for the competition.
The championship will run from April 6-10 with West Liberty competing on Thursday, April 7 at roughly 1 p.m. The team will perform again on Friday with the time dependent on their placement after Thursday’s performance.

WLU’s division consists of 14 teams this year, giving the Toppers some tough competition. “Personally, I would like to place in the top six. We got fourth one year, so if we got placed in the top three that would be incredible, but I’m aiming for top six for sure,” said Meghan Murphy, a senior cheerleader.

The Daytona Beach trip is the culmination of a year of hard work and preparation for the WLU cheerleaders. “I’m really excited just to show everyone the work that we’ve put in all season,” said Fram. “This is our one moment to show what we’ve worked for.”

“I’m really just excited to hang out with my team and compete, and show everyone what West Liberty offers as a cheerleading team (by) just spending time together and becoming a family,” said Murphy.

WLU’s Cheer Team plays a big role in the university’s athletic success. The cheerleaders were involved in every home game this season for both the men’s and women’s basketball team helping to rally the crowd in some of the Topper’s toughest moments. “During basketball games, we don’t really do the same type of skills that we are able to perform here but we still go out and are able to do stunts in front of the crowd which helps us to warm up and adapt to being in front of people,” said Murphy.

Cheering for WLU is a big commitment. The team puts in hours of hard work to be able to perfect their skills and produce a good performance. “It’s a very time-consuming sport,” said Fram. “We practice three days a week. We have football games, basketball games, pep rallies and events like this [showcases], so cheerleaders need to come in with a mindset that they’re ready to work.”

To keep up with the WLU Cheerleaders, you can follow their Instagram account or subscribe to West Liberty University Cheer Vlogs on YouTube.