DAYTONA BEACH -- The Shorter University All-Girl and Coed competitive cheerleading squads will enter Friday's final rounds in second place in their respective divisions after strong performances in Thursday's prelims at the 2011 NCA National Cheerleading Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The All-Girl team, which is seeking an unprecedented third straight national championship in the NCA Intermediate All-Girl II Division, scored an 8.321 on Thursday and is just over two-hundredth of a point behind current leader Newberry College, which posted a score of 8.346.
The All-Girl Cheer Hawks, who won an NAIA Mid-South Regional championship in February, had the highest raw score of all nine teams in the division -- the raw score is the starting point of the performance and is based on the routine's difficulty level -- and had just one deduction worth .01 points.
Newberry was flawless in its preliminary routine, but will have to rekindle that same magic if it hopes to hold off the Cheer Hawks, who have dominated the division in each of the past two years on their way to back-to-back national championships.
Shorter's Coed squad, which is competing for an NAIA national championship for the first time ever as part of the NAIA Large Coed Division, will enter Friday's final chasing Oklahoma City University, which sits in first after Thursday's action with a prelim score of 9.556.
The Cheer Hawks scored a 9.277 on Thursday and have a comfortable cushion over third place competitor Indiana Tech (8.592). Oklahoma City, Shorter and Indiana Tech will battle it out on Friday as the top three Thursday finishers in the six-team division.
The Coed Cheer Hawks are in search of their first national championship after having finished runner-up in 2009 and in fourth place last year. The Coed's were nearly perfect in their regional performance in February that earned them an NAIA Mid-South Regional title.