Spirit Squad crushes competition

Wildcats take photo on the beach after victory in the Advanced Large Co-Ed Division I Grand National Championship

For the sixth-year straight, Weber State University’s Spirit Squad took home the title at the 2023 National Cheer Association/National Dance Alliance Collegiate Nationals on April 8 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Weber State started this year by moving up from Division I to Division IA, the country’s highest division. Competing in Advanced Large Coed Division I for the Grand National Championship, Weber State finished ahead of Texas Tech University, Clemson University, the University of Louisville and Oklahoma State University with a total score of 98.0833.

“For a small FCS school to go into that category — we just wanted to represent our university and our program well, and we did just that,” Summer Willis, Wildcat Spirit Squad advisor, said. “It was really exciting.”

Adding to the trophy case, seniors Elsa Hassett and Michael Androsov won the partner stunt competition, a contest which saw the Wildcats take five of the top six spots.

“No, I’m not lucky, I’m blessed,” Hassett said on Twitter. “I can’t believe I’m a 6x NCA College National Champ.”

Weber State also placed second in the Advanced Small Coed Division I competition and third in the group stunt competition.

With a group consisting of senior Carli Gable, freshman Brynn Beesely, sophomore Sage Hardy and junior Kylee Kimball, the Wildcats competed in the All-Girl division for the first time, placing third overall.

As for dance, Weber State finished third in both Jazz Division I with a score of 95.1143 and Hip Hop with a score of 93.6571.

“We couldn’t be prouder of what we left on the floor,” the Wildcat dance team said on Instagram. “We gave it our absolute all and that’s all we could’ve wanted.”

A daughter of two Weber State graduates, Willis’ grandfather was Wallace Morris, the football player from the 1920’s that Waldo the Wildcat is named after. This year’s title marks her seventh with the Wildcats, winning the first in 2009.

“To get that win and then get the trophy, too? That’s coming full circle,” Willis said. “Just a dream come true. To have the best team in the nation is just really amazing for Utah and for our community.”

Weber State is currently holding cheer tryouts, with packets and tryout videos due by April 25. The first round finalists are set to be announced on May 1.