Blue Hen spirit
YoUDee gains 'three-peat' as UD spirit teams compete at nationals
1:32 p.m., Jan. 31, 2013--The University of Delaware mascot YoUDee did it again. For the third straight year, the first mascot in the First State took first place in the open mascot finals in Florida.
The fun-loving icon of Blue Hens everywhere joined the UD cheerleading and dance teams in turning in top 10 performances at the 2013 Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) and Universal Dance Association (UDA) college cheerleading and dance national championships held Jan. 18-20 at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Ballroom dance honors
The UD cheerleaders finished second in Division I competition and came in sixth in the world university cheerleading championship’s large coed division.
Stepping out against strong contenders, the UD dance team earned fourth and fifth place kudos, respectively, in Division I hip hop and jazz competitions.
YoUDee mascot team
New to the mascot team, freshman university studies major Ryan Jones recalled the good advice given by team veterans about hard work paying dividends in the Sunshine State.
“They could not have been more correct,” Jones said. “I hope that when I’m a senior, I’ll be able to tell the rookies the same thing I was told -- not to worry because everything will pay off.”
Kenny Siebold, senior organizational and community leadership major and mascot team captain, said the pressure prior to perform a great routine was intense.
“Winning the nationals is everything to me and to our team,” Siebold said. “Being able to come home with a win once again meant the world to us.”
Sharon Harris of UD’s Office of Communications and Marketing, mascot program manager, said she appreciates the passion and dedication each member brings to the team in putting together the field-topping family fun skit.
An additional highlight for Harris was watching the reaction of the mascot team on hearing that they had won their third straight national title.
“The biggest reward for me was looking at the glow and excitement on each of their faces when they announced YoUDee as champion,” Harris said. “It’s a memory I’ll keep forever.”
Stephanie Reiner, a senior finance major and four-year team member, said that the cheerleaders’ finale at the nationals this year was anything but routine.
“Getting second place this year felt like winning, because we knew we had done our absolute best,” Reiner said. “This is my last year competing at the nationals, and I could not be more proud of my teammates.”
Head cheerleading coach and spirit coordinator Ben Schreiber noted that participants at the event represented 125 schools as they competed for awards in dance, cheer and mascot venues.
The UD cheerleading team performed in the Large Coed Division I bracket.
“This is the most prestigious collegiate cheerleading competition and is our sport’s national championship,” Schreiber said. “The competition was very close and we are happy with having done our best in the finals.”
For Laura Seitz, a freshman political science and international relations major, the ultimate reward was sharing the spotlight with 17 best friends and teammates.
“The level of competition and talent was out of this world, Seitz said. “I am proud that we placed in the top five in hip hop and jazz. I could not imagine going there with any other team.”
Dance team captain Hilary Davis, a junior biology major, praised the connection, drive, motivation and talent as inspiring and something to remember.
“I am so proud of my girls and how we did this weekend,” Davis said. “I know we performed at our best and really enjoyed our time together on the stage.”
Nicole Daliessio-Zehnder, dance team head coach, agreed that the UD dancers represented themselves well both on and off the competition floor.
“They were true athletes and fought for every dance,” Daliessio-Zehnder said. “They may not have won a national title, but they definitely made an impression on the other teams and on my heart as well.”
Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos courtesy of Sharon Harris and by Evan Krape