Toby Bear ranked as number one among college mascots

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Toby Bear will be competing at the National Cheerleading Association’s Mascot Competition April 14 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Toby was ranked number one among all of the mascots who submitted a qualification video.

Some mascots received a bid to the competition through auditioning at the National Cheerleading Association’s College Cheer Camp. Those who did not audition at a camp were able to submit qualification videos. Ten mascots were selected from the videos; five finalists who will be given the opportunity to perform on stage and five who will compete if the first ranked five are unable.

At the 2011 competition, Sammy the Bearkat from Sam Houston State University took first place. Toby hopes to beat the reigning champion as he was ranked higher than the Bearkat from just the first round of video judging.

In April, Toby will perform on stage a routine that will be judged on three components. The first component is prop utilization, which will judge Toby’s use of props that could include flags, poms or signs. Originally, Toby was planning on throwing out t-shirts to the crowd, but decided against it to avoid point deductions for liability reasons.

The second component that Toby’s routine will be judged on is crowd interaction.

“I get to interact with the crowd at Mercer’s basketball games and what better way to practice pumping up a crowd than at our home arena,” said Toby.

Lastly, Toby’s routine will be judged on dance. Cheerleading skills can be included in the dance component as long as they adhere to all the rules and standards that the collegiate cheerleading teams are required to follow.

“It felt awesome to be ranked number one video qualifier especially since this is the first year I have competed in the National Cheerleading Association’s Mascot Competition,” said Toby.

Mercer Cheerleading will be competing the same weekend, April 11-14, at the National Cheerleading Association 2012 Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship.

 “Last year, Mercer Cheerleading placed third in the nation in the small co-ed division. This year our goal is to finish in first place,” said Toby.

Toby will accompany the Mercer Cheerleaders to the national competition as they