By Matt Green
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. -- Two regional titles? Check. Eight NAIA All-Americans? Check. For the Shorter Cheer Hawks, the chase is now officially on for national championships No. 4 and 5.
The Shorter University Competitive Cheerleading program put itself in a position to make more history on Saturday as both its Small and Large Co-Ed squads captured regional titles at the 2012 Mid-South Regional Cheerleading Championships hosted by Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Ky.
Both squads have now earned Gold Bids -- Shorter's Small Co-Ed squad earned its Gold Bid on Saturday while the Large Co-Ed had already done so in Myrtle Beach in the fall -- to compete for an NAIA national championship at the 2012 NCA National Cheerleading Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., in April.
Shorter's Small Co-Ed scored 268.5 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Campbellsville (248.8) and third place University of Virginia-Wise (233.4). The Large Co-Ed Cheer Hawks racked up 274.2 points to outduel Lee University (233.4) in their respective division.
All told, eight Cheer Hawks were honored as NAIA All-Americans. Mitchell Boles, Jessi Clark, Ariele D'Emidio, Taylor Hern, Kaitlin Hill, Brittney Hodges, Taylor Mahi and Reginald Reid earned All-America status on Saturday.
Saturday's performances continued Shorter's tradition of picking up hardware in competition.
While Shorter's three straight national championships in the All-Girl Intermediate II division at the NCA National Cheerleading Championships is well-documented, the Cheer Hawks have dominated regional competition since its inception in 2011.
As the regional host last year, Shorter won Mid-South Regional championships in the All-Girl and Large Co-Ed divisions. The All-Girl squad went on to capture that third straight national championship two months later in Daytona while the Large Co-Ed team came up tenths of a point short in its quest for a national crown.
Shorter swapped out its All-Girl program for a Small Co-Ed program and the results so far haven't varied. The Small Co-Ed unit beat out four other contenders en route to the regional championship and may have established itself as a favorite heading into Daytona.