Spirit program captures national titles
January 26, 2024
Cheer wins sixth-straight national title, dance claims third consecutive national championship
The University of Delaware spirit program captured a pair of national titles at the 2024 Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) and Universal Dance Association (UDA) National Championships. Cheer won its sixth-straight small coed gameday national title, while dance claimed its third consecutive division I hip hop national championship.
The championships mark the 28th and 29th in program history and mark the 18th year in a row that Delaware has won at least one national title.
“Every year we talk about building upon the foundation that has been laid by our alumni,” spirit program coordinator and head coed cheer coach Ryan Blanford said. “This year our spirit program student-athletes continued to do just that. Winning two more national titles brings a feeling of Blue Hen Pride that is hard to describe. These young men and women work so hard all season long, and it is extremely rewarding to see all their dedication pay off.”
Cheer finished the semifinals in first place with a score of 96.4333 and held steady after the finals with a 95.8, beating out Butler University with a 95.4667.
“Nationals was such an unforgettable, amazing experience with UD,” said coed cheer team captain Joe Davis, a senior meteorology and climate science major. “We took home our sixth national championship and supported all of our programs in their successes down in Florida. I am so proud of what we accomplished and grateful to have had the opportunity to do it all for one last time.”
Dance finished the hip hop semifinals in second place with a 94.5333 behind Utah Valley’s 94.55. After some adjustments, the Blue Hens scored a 95.2167 to jump the Wolverines 94.4667 to claim their third-straight championship.
“Winning a third time, making the second ever three-peat in hip hop was special in so many ways,” head dance coach Risa Snapp said. “I am still very close with my coach, Nicole Zehnder, and our bond and connection became even deeper by having this once in a lifetime accomplishment mirrored. Each win the past three years has followed a different path, making each one unique, special and memorable in its own way.”
YoUDee also competed in Orlando in the Open Mascot category and nearly pulled off another national championship. With a score of 84.16, the Blue Hens mascot team finished just behind Austin Peay State’s 85.8, for a second-place national finish.
“While we were not able to defend our championship from last year, we did learn a lot this year,” said Tony Goldston, mascot team head coach and cheer team assistant coach. “We have a young YoUDee team, with this year’s championship being the first for all team members. This was a jump from our 4th place placement in qualifying. I was very proUD of how the skit came out and most importantly how well YoUDee performed their skit.”
Elsewhere on the mat and marley, dance’s jazz routine finished fifth overall, coed division I cheer took fourth, cheer’s girls “4” stunt groups came in 11th and 15th, and all girl division I cheer took 10th in the semifinals.
For more on the competition, including photos and quotes from the participants, visit BlueHens.com.