UCF Spirit Again Excels at Nationals

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The biggest weekend in collegiate cheerleading has come to an end once again. It was a whirlwind of a weekend for the UCF Knights cheer team as they competed in the Gameday Nationals Competition, UCA Nationals and the World Cup Championship.

Orlando's Hometown Team won over the crowd with their Gameday performance Friday afternoon in the semifinals, and they solidified first place with their perfect routine in the finals later that night. During the awards ceremony the reporter noted, "UCF, they know something about undefeated streaks." The team was taking that 1-0 mindset, and applying it to the rest of the weekend.

"The energy out there was amazing," said senior Madison Burt. "It kind of gave the crowd a piece of our game day and how we treat game day and the fun we have out there on the field."

Saturday, the Nationals team hit a perfect routine during semifinals, securing them second place behind Kentucky and a spot in the finals.

The Nationals team claimed another title Sunday afternoon when they placed first for the World Cup Championship, boosting their confidence one final time before the finals that night.

"For us its an opportunity to get the name of UCF out there to overseas teams and we've made some great friends and connections through that," UCF head coach Linda Gooch said. "It also gives our team another opportunity to go through the whole process of warming up, going out there under the lights, and competing."

Going into Sunday's finals performance, the team had now hit their routine a record 14 times after a hit at the World Cup Championship. 

However, the performance Sunday evening did not go in the team's favor. The Nationals team placed sixth overall.

"They rose to the challenge that we put in front of them," said Gooch. "The way that they carried themselves and the way that they represented our University just speaks volumes to the character of the people we have on this team. I was extremely proud of them for the way that they handled the situation and the way that they went out there and performed."

The program has now placed in the Top 10 of the College Cheerleading National Championships 24 times in the last 26 years under Gooch, including national titles in 2003 and 2007.

More information about the UCA College Cheerleading National Championships can be found at Varsity.com. ESPN is set to air a tape delayed broadcast later this spring.

Congratulate the cheerleading team on social media by sending them a message on Twitter @UCF_CheerTeam, Instagram @UCF.Cheerteam and Facebook at /UCFCheerTeam.