ROME -- With back-to-back national championships in hand, the Shorter University competitive cheerleading program has given itself another chance to make history.
Serving as hosts of the NAIA Mid-South Cheerleading Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop-King Centre, Shorter's All-Girl and Coed squads captured their respective regional titles and punched their tickets to compete for an NAIA title at the NCA Cheerleading National Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., in April.
Shorter was one of five teams represented at the Invitational. University of the Cumberlands (Ky.), Georgetown College (Ky.), Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) and Mountain State University (W.Va.) traveled to Rome in hopes of scoring the necessary 272 points out of a possible 363 (75 percent) that would qualify them for Daytona.
Shorter's two-time national champion All-Girl squad went uncontested in the All-Girl division after Pikeville College and UVA-Wise dropped out of the competition last week, but still scored the necessary percentage to receive a bid for the NCA's first-ever NAIA Cheer Invitational.
Shorter scored a 308 despite losing a member of the team to injury just hours before the competition was set to begin.
In the Large Coed division, the Cheer Hawks' brought the Winthrop-King Centre to its feet with a nearly flawless performance that resulted in a score of 330.
The 315 posted by Martin Methodist, Shorter's only competition in the Large Coed division, was good enough to qualify the Red Hawks for the NAIA Invitational, but wasn't enough to keep Shorter from winning its second regional title of the day.
Shorter also had three athletes earn All-America status -- juniors Reginald Reid and Taylor Hearn joined sophomore Kaitlin Hill.