Mercer Cheer to compete at nationals


Mercer Cheer, under the direction of Head Cheerleading Coach Nicky Bruno, has received a bid to compete at the national cheer competition in Daytona, Fla. next April. The National Cheerleaders Association/National Dance Association college nationals is the largest collegiate cheerleading and dance competition in the world. Last year, over 240 teams from selected colleges and universities
were in attendance.

“We were very excited to receive a bid to the 2012 NCA College Nationals again this year,” said Bruno. “Competing at this prestigious event last year was an honor, and we are all eager to take the stage for a second time,” she added.

The cheerleaders moved to the Macon campus a week early to begin training in anticipation of the NCA Cheer Camp, which took place in the university intramural courts. Representatives from the NCA coaching staff came to train and instruct Mercer Cheer as a part of a rigorous three-day camp. At the end of the third day, Mercer Cheer was evaluated during two closed performances; one consisting of game-day material, and the other involving an abbreviated competition routine complete with stunts, tumbling and a high-energy dance routine. The coaches used scoring standards from the NCA competition to determine that Mercer met qualifications for nationals.

Mercer graduate and former cheerleader Peter Fredrickson recalled his experience at nationals in April 2011. “I can attest that competing in Daytona is an unforgettable and exhilarating experience. I have good faith that Mercer Cheer not only has the talent to be one of the top cheer squads in Daytona, but that they also have the confidence and swagger to be one of the top two in their division,” said Fredrickson.

At this past year’s competition, the cheerleaders were excited to make it through preliminaries and have the chance to perform on the bandshell, a large stadium-style performance space erected from the white sands of Daytona Beach.

Prior to April 2011, Mercer Cheer had not competed on the national level in nearly 15 years. Nicky Bruno recalled the experience of Mercer placing in the top five at the first national competition in over a decade. “Last year the team finished third in the Small Co-ed One division at nationals,” said Bruno. “I was extremely proud of the team because not only did they accomplish their goals, they exceeded them,” she added.

In addition to the cheerleading competition, Toby the Bear will also be representing Mercer University as he performs in the 2012 NCA mascot competition. While no one knows for certain which university will take the trophy this coming spring, it’s clear that the members of Mercer Cheer have made a name for themselves in the world of competitive cheerleading and will continue to strive for greatness.