MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The Shorter University large and small coed cheerleading squads each received paid bids to the 2012 National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) College Nationals with their outstanding performances at the NCA College Cheer Camp held this past weekend in Myrtle Beach.
Shorter's large coed team received the first Gold Bid in program history while the Cheer Hawks' brand new small coed unit earned a bronze bid to this year's NCA Cheerleading National Championships, which are slated to return to Daytona Beach, Fla., in Apri.
Over 20 teams and 600 athletes attended this year's camp, the majority of which consisted of large NCAA Division I schools such as the University of Georgia, University of Maryland, Virginia Tech, James Madison and Georgia Southern.
"I am so happy with the results of NCA camp this year," said Shorter head coach Rachel Magness, who has led the Shorter competitive cheerleading program to three straight NCA national championships in the All-Girl II Intermediate division. "Our new cheer teams represented Shorter better than ever by earning Gold and Bronze Bids. Our cheer athletes are some of the hardest working athletes on campus with one of the longest seasons and they are ready for the challenges ahead.
"More importantly, I am so impressed with the heart of these athletes -- they are truly dedicated to putting Christ first in their lives."
The large coed Cheer Hawks finished the weekend as the camp's sixth-highest scoring team by placing first in the Rally Routine and in the top five of all teams at the camp in Game Day Competition.
Shorter was the only NAIA school to earn a Gold Bid and joined the Georgia, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Valdosta State as Gold Bid honorees. A Gold Bid saves an institution over $8,000 in registration and lodging fees required to attend the national championships.
"It was such an honor being recognized as one of the top programs at camp along with more established programs such as Georgia, Maryland and Virginia Tech," said Magness.
For the first time ever, the Cheer Hawks unveiled a small coed unit, which made an instant splash by claiming a Bronze Bid. Small coed placed in the top 10 of the camp and received superior evaluations in both Rally Routines and Game Day Competitions.
Five Cheer Hawks earned NCA Collegiate All-America honors for their performances throughout the weekend.
Senior Taylor Hearn collected her third NCA All-America award and sophomore Jessica Baldwin became a two-time All-America honoree. Senior Reginald Reid, junior Ariele D'Emidio and freshman Taylor Mahi picked up their first NCA All-America honors.
Shorter's road to the NCA National Championships began last Monday with skill evaluations and drill work for all 50 team members. By Thursday, the coaching staff had assembled each team and installed preliminary routines, all building blocks for what Magness hopes will be another championship season on the mats.
"I am overwhelmed at the level of dedication and talent of our returning athletes and new recruits," Magness said. "Even though we strive for excellence in our sport, our main goal continues to be focusing on Jesus Christ as a team."