12 members of the WSU cheerleading team posing in their uniforms

Cheerleading team heads to Daytona Beach for national championship competition

April 5, 2022
By: Deborah Alvarez O'Neil

Worcester State’s cheerleading team will vie for a national championship title this week in Daytona Beach, marking their return to in-person competition after years of hard work and preparation.

The 2022 National Cheerleading & National Dance Alliance Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship, the country’s largest cheerleading event, will bring together hundreds of student athletes from around the U.S. at the Bandshell and Ocean Center overlooking the Atlantic on April 7-9. The 11-member Worcester State team will perform their 2-minute and 15-second routine twice before a panel of judges – once on Thursday morning and a second time on Friday morning. “It is the longest 2 minutes and 15 seconds of anyone’s life. It is nonstop,” said team adviser Sarah Valois, a counselor in the WSU Counseling Center who serves as an interim coach with Sarah Potrikus of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development.

The event will be live streamed for a fee by Varsity T.V. For details on how to watch, click here. You can also follow the team on Instagram, where they have been counting down the days to Daytona with enthusiasm and gratitude: “As we enter our final competition practices of the season, the Lady Lancers would like to say THANK YOU to EVERYONE who has helped us make this opportunity possible! We are ready to show up and show OUT!” 

It has been a long road for the Lancers to get to the national championship. They began their season with 20 members and lost 9 through the season for various reasons, including injuries. “They have gone through a lot of changes and they have dealt with a lot of adversity in their roster,” Valois said. “They are remarkable – extremely talented, and they have a great attitude and work really hard. They are so excited to be part of this event.”

The students have been hard at work since August building endurance, learning their choreography, and practicing stunts, tumbling, and jumps. They attended two camps, one to qualify for the championship and another to build stunt skills. To pay for the trip, the team has been fundraising for months, including working at many regional cheerleading events.

In March, the team hosted a college sendoff showcase, inviting college cheerleading teams from around the region to Worcester State to showcase their national competition routines. The Lancer’s routine will be a fast-paced, high-energy performance with basket tosses, jumps, tumbling, stunting, a pyramid and a dance.

“Stunting is not independent – they are completely reliant on each other,” Valois said. They absolutely have to work together to keep each safe and be successful on the mat.”

The 2022 Cheerleading team includes:

  • Akila Ferreira, First Year/Psychology
  • Hillary Reyes, Senior/Public Health
  • Isabella LaCorcia, Sophomore/Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Jenna Bieksha, First Year/Early Childhood Education
  • Jenny Kha, Senior/Biology
  • Julia DaSilva, Senior/Business Administration
  • Michelle Nguyen, Senior/Business Administration/Marketing
  • Riane Anderson, Sophomore/Psychology
  • Rileigh Tinglof, Sophomore/Elementary Education/Psychology
  • Rylee Fontes, Junior/Communication
  • Sarah Infantino, Senior/Biology
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