This past weekend, Howard Payne University’s cheer teams traveled to Winston-Salem, N.C. to compete at the Christian Cheerleaders of America National Competition, held at the Benton Conventions Center.

HPU performed its competition routine, which included stunts, jumps, tumbling and a cheer in the college small co-ed division. The team competed twice on Saturday, and won first place based on its combined scores from both performances.

In addition, HPU competed in group stunt performances, which included a team of five people performing a stunt sequence.

HPU’s gold team — comprised of Brooke Belcher, Harlie Benham, Kristopher Lowery, Rachel Moore and Whitney Presbaugh — won second place in the group stunt devision.

HPU’s blue team included Aly Castle, Kelci Feist, Lawrence Martinez, Dariann Reed and Mitchell Sostarich, and won fifth place.

“The team worked very hard throughout the semester on their different routines and I, obviously, could not be any more proud of their accomplishments,” said Jeffri Foster, HPU cheerleading coach and youth ministry graduate assistant.

The Christian Cheerleaders of America National Competition’s motto is “Building people before pyramids.” Participants travel from more than 20 states. During the weekend, teams are thrown a welcome party and a concert is held. Also, the coach of the year is named and the cheer competition take places, which consists of more than 50 divisions.

Nationals were broadcasted live via during the competition. HPU’s cheerleaders could be seen at 4:06, 4:12 and 4:42 p.m. Saturday.