St. John still a 'Stang at heart
Tumble costs team title
Thanks for all the memories
Tumble costs team title
By John Intini
The Western cheerleading team rose up from the ruins left after their largest pyramid crumbled last weekend to capture bronze at the National Collegiate Cheerleading Championships in Daytona, Florida.
Mustang head coach David-Lee Tracey described the team's first routine as nearly perfect, leaving the team in second, only 1/100th of a point behind eventual gold medalists Florida Atlantic University. Unfortunately the quest for the title literally slipped through the team's hands.
Halfway through their second routine, a crucial mistake was made while building one of the pyramids in the team's program. The miscalculation occurred when team co-captain Sharon Navarro was thrown up from behind the pyramid and slipped through the hands of co-captain Alex Robinson, falling to the team's catchers on the other side and dashing the club's hopes. The team dropped to third half a point behind silver medalists Northeastern University.
"If that didn't happen we probably would've won the championship," Robinson said. "The maneuver involves a blind catch and although there was no major crash, as soon as she fell it was over."
Although the mistake may have cost the team the title, Tracey said the ability to recover from the error was a true testament to his team's greatness.
"When you make a mistake like that you're fried," he said. "We blew a key element but we weren't phased by it and still clicked on everything else."
This was the second time the Mustangs made the trip to Florida to play in the Division 1 tournament. The team finished in third last year as well.
According to rookie Rick Mathison, in his fourth year at Western, the team travelled south in search of a higher level of competition. Western has mastered the Canadian circuit, winning the last 14 CIAU titles. "Cheerleading is more popular with stiffer competition. We go down for a fresher look," Mathison said.
Division 1A is the highest level in the NCAA's four brackets with Division 1 being the second highest level of talent. According to Tracey, the talent of the teams in both top divisions is indistinguishable.
"We could opt to play in the lowest division and kill everybody but instead we choose a division which is competitive for us," he said.