Competitive cheer debuts new team


Gannon University’s competitive cheer squad kicked off its 2016 season with a pair of wins Saturday afternoon at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDFR) Cheer for a Cure in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
This season the squad added a new dynamic to its arsenal.
While in the past, the team consisted of only women, this year the Knights have added two men to the team. This allows them to compete in the all-girl group and the coed competitions.
The new weapons are freshman Cameron Brown, from Crofton, Md., and freshman Robert Sexton III from Clairton.
Adding the men to the team has allowed the competitive cheer program to provide more opportunities for males and females to compete for Gannon. Previously the team was limited to putting 20 people on the floor at nationals, but now they can potentially have 40 with the coed and all-girls teams.
“Both the coed and the all-girl teams are very strong and have started the year off on a great note,” Coach Meghan Foran said. “We’ve gotten really positive feedback from those who have seen us compete so far, and I think there’s a lot of excitement around the fact that our program is growing very rapidly while still maintaining a high level of competitiveness—especially in a new division, which can sometimes take time to establish.”
The all-girl squad defeated Brockport State in the College Division with a score of 86.1 after a 2.5 point deduction from 88.6.
The Knights earned 17.65 points out of 20 for stunts, 25.1 out of 30 for pyramids/tosses and appeal/showmanship, 23.5 out of 30 for jumps/transitions and formations and 22.35 out of 30 for tumbling and motions/dance.
The women scored highest in stunt execution with 9/10, motion/dance with 9/10 and pyramids/toss difficulty with a 9/10.
Junior back Amanda MacNeil was excited that both teams won despite being the last teams to perform that day.
“We all went into it feeling really ready to show off what we have been working on since August,” MacNeil said.
“Both teams are already in such a good place and it’s only February. We expect to be very successful this season for both teams.”
The coed team produced a raw score of 88.5 before receiving a point deduction and finishing with a score of 87.5.
Its scorecard included stunts for 17.7 points out of 20, 26.8 out of 30 for pyramids/tosses and appeal/showmanship, 23.8 out of 30 for jumps/transitions and formations and 20.2 out of 30 for tumbling and motions/dance.
The coeds placed highest on jump difficulty and pyramid/toss difficulty with 9/10 and pyramids/toss execution, appeal/showmanship and stunt execution with 8.9/10.
Up next both teams will have their home debut for the season Sunday, Feb. 21, when they host the day-long Road to Daytona Showcase at the Hammermill Center.
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