The Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) held their annual collegiate national competition from Jan. 12-14 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando,
Fla. Winners of four straight UCA titles, Sacred Heart University’s (SHU) cheerleading team was invited back in hopes of capturing their fifth consecutive title. In the Open All Girls Game Day division, which included 37 teams, SHU cheerleading placed third, and came within hundredths of a point of first place. In the Division 1 All Girls competition, which featured 16 teams, SHU earned 87.4 points, which was 7.5 points behind the leader, earning them another hard-fought third-place finish.
Head Coach CJ Sereno gave her thoughts about her team’s performance at UCA’s this year. “This is the most difficult routine this program has competed in,” said Sereno. “It is always hard to win, and even harder to stay on top.” Taking over full-time coaching duties in 2021, Sereno reflected on what being invited to compete at UCAs means to her and the rest of her team. “The experience and trip is great for us,” said Sereno. “Our program is fortunate enough to continue sending athletes to this competition and competing at the highest- level year after year. We are always so proud of the girls and how hard they work.”
Senior Nina Campos, a co-captain of the team, reflected on her and her team’s experiences at UCA.
“We always have fun with one another,” said Campos. “Going to UCA Nationals these past four years has been an unforgettable experience, and we have always tried to put out the best possible routine we can.”
Senior Ciara Doyle, the other co-captain of the team, reflected on her past four years as a member of the program.
“These past four years have been a lot of fun,” said Doyle. “Since joining the team I have learned a lot about myself and changed a lot as a person.”
Doyle also spoke on the impact that Coach Sereno has on her and the rest of her teammates.
“Coach CJ knows how to take the pressure off us,” said Doyle. “Her style changed the way we approach cheer and competitions in general.”
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.