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Maryland Competitive Cheerleading Goes For 5th Championship

7:25 PM, Apr 6, 2011   |    comments
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA) -- It's been a rough March for Maryland sports. The women's basketball team lost in the second round of the tournament, the men's team didn't even make the tournament, and the biggest ticket-seller on campus may be the upcoming cage-match between Gary Williams and Debbie Yow. But, of course, there are other championships being vied for by Maryland teams.

These Maryland Terrapins aren't your typical cheerleaders. They don't stand on the sidelines of a game, they don't carry pom poms or signs, and they don't yell out a cheer. But they have just as much spirit.

Jarnell Bonds, who has served five years as head coach, explained, "The purpose of the girl on the sidelines is to entertain the crowd and get crowd involvement...our purpose is to compete our skills with the difficulty of our skills to measure up with another team."

These Lady Terps represent the university in the sport of competitive cheerleading. It's a mix of gymnastics, dance and cheerleading.

Senior Megan Salvatore said, "I hope they see the dedication and hardwork that's put into it...it's not easy."

Senior Erin Cahill shared, "We do everything else like another sport...we practice 5, 6 days a week for 3 hours. We're tired just like any other sport, we're athletically fit just like any other sport, time committment like any other sport..." 

The sport provides female athletes a chance at a good education. The University of Maryland offers 12 full scholarships that are split between the squad.

"One of the deciding factors is the fact that we offer scholarships but the fact that were competing on the collegiate level," said Bonds. 

In fact, one member said, "When I looked into them and saw they offered full and partial scholarships it was definitely one of the things that geared me to go here."

These Terps are a force to be reckoned with, having won 4 national championships in the last 5 years this month. In Oregon, they go for number 5.

"A positive mind set and knowing that we're good enough...we can do this...we can win."

A positive attitude and the will to win.

Written by Kristen Berset
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