The Howard Payne University cheerleaders recently dominated in a cheer competition hosted by Nationwide Cheer and Dance at St. Edward’s University in Austin. HPU earned the most points and brought home first place overall and the title “Texas Champs” in NCAA Division III.
Other institutions that participated were Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward’s University, University of Mary Hardin Baylor, Howard College, St. Mary’s University and Dallas Baptist University. HPU received third place for cheer routine, second place for partner stunts and first place for skills routine. The cheer routine is similar to a half-time basketball performance and the skills routine is comprised of dance, cheer, stunts, jumps and tumbling.
This is the first time in 12 years HPU has entered a full competing team into competition.
“To have been the first team to compete in more than 10 years is an accomplishment, and to win was beyond what I could have dreamed,” said Jeffri Foster, head cheerleading coach.
Despite their winning outcome, the team had to overcome obstacles to reach the top.
“We had to struggle through many injuries and health problems and when we competed we performed like we were all at 100 percent,” said Corgan Andrews, a sophomore from Paradise.
Cara Heidelberg, a senior from Garland, said, “I have been so blessed to be a part of the HPU cheer program this year, and I am so thankful for the time and effort our coach put in to making us successful. It's been a great year in cheer.”
Other students who competed were Brandon Butler, a freshman from Mineral Wells; Alyssa Castle, a sophomore from Lampasas; Kelci Feist, a freshman from De Leon; Samantha Guerrero, a junior from Big Lake; Jenna Johnson, a sophomore from Seminole; Virginia Lemke, a senior from Mason; Whitney Presbaugh, a sophomore from Fort Worth; and Katelyn Wood, a sophomore from Whitesboro.