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Florida Atlantic University cheer team wins national championship at competition in Daytona Beach

FAU's large coed cheer team places 5th, all-girls team places 12th
FAU's Intermediate Small Coed Division I-A cheer team won first place at the National Cheerleading Association's Collegiate National Championship in Daytona Beach on April 7, 2023.
Posted at 1:53 AM, Apr 08, 2023

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Florida Atlantic University's Intermediate Small Coed Division I-A cheer team won first place at the National Cheerleading Association's Collegiate National Championship in Daytona Beach on Friday.

FAU's large coed cheer team placed fifth, and the all-girls team placed 12th.

About 70 FAU athletes in three of the university's cheer teams took to the mat Friday as they competed for the championship title.

"You can't compare anything to Daytona, not only are you going against schools from all around the world, you're going to put your name and your school out there," Jonathan Escudero, the captain for FAU's large coed cheer team, said.

"As just athletes, we are working hard to make it and max out on any score sheet that we can, so we can bring back the championship and let everybody know that not only are we good with football, basketball but cheerleading has it [also] going on at FAU," Escudero said.

Escudero said they've been working nine months to put on a 2-minute and 15-second routine.

"Cheer is extremely hard, I've played almost every sport growing up, and cheerleading is the toughest sport I've ever done," said Escudero.

Also, competing at nationals on the all-girls team was senior Brianna Pope.

"We're all girls. We're beasts because we can do it without the boys," Pope said. "It's been a lot of sweat, heart and tears, but we pushed through."

Pope said the exposure from March Madness and having three cheer teams at nationals are taking FAU Cheer and the university to the next level.

"It shows that FAU is a big school and we deserve to be there," Pope said. "All of our teams are doing amazing this season, so we're really going out with a bang."

FAU Club Cheer Coach Gerard Jones said the team has one more end-of-the-season competition in Orlando.

"The moment we won the only thought running through my head was how much I love this family, and truly how hard we fought with how far we all have come to finally achieve this National Title," said FAU senior Markus Hull, who is on FAU's Intermediate Small Coed Division that won the national title.

Hull said due to COVID-19 they weren't able to compete his freshman and sophomore year.

Then, their newly hired head coach Hector Escamilla had a plan of resculpting the FAU cheerleading program and chose not to compete during his junior year.

"There aren't enough words to express how proud I am of not only myself for making it through all this time but also my teammates for going through all and any changes that were made necessary in order to bring home the NCA National Championship Title," Hull said.

Tryouts for FAU Cheer start in May.