LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming President Dr. Richard McGinity visited the UW cheerleaders at their nationals routine practice Tuesday evening to wish the team well at next week's National Cheerleader's Association (NCA) Collegiate Championships. The spirit program will host a `send-off showcase' for the public on Monday at 7:30 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium, as the UW Cheerleaders and Pistol Pete will be performing their nationals routines.
On Tuesday, McGinity commended the UW cheerleaders for their accomplishment and showed his appreciation for their hard work throughout the year at games and appearances.
"It was an absolute joy to have President McGinity at our practice," UW Head Spirit Coach Matthew Ortega said. "He was genuinely interested in discovering what is all involved in a collegiate cheer team's journey to NCA College Nationals."
Ortega also stated that McGinity expressed his gratitude and pride to the UW cheerleaders. "We all enjoyed watching President McGinity's excited reactions as the team flipped, tumbled, and stunted. In fact he was so excited about what he saw that he was willing and eager to join us in stunting a bit before he left.
"I think it is speaks volumes about our university and its leadership that the president would take time to come and visit our cheer team. We are also so fortunate to have such supportive administration within our athletic department. Our AD and leadership have been very supportive and excited about our team competing on a national level and this opportunity would not be possible without that support."
The UW cheerleaders leave Wednesday to compete at the NCA's Collegiate Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla. They are one of 19 teams in their division who will be competing for national rankings. In July, the UW cheerleaders attended NCA's College Cheer Camp where they were awarded a gold bid to compete at NCA Nationals. This is the first time in UW history that its cheer team has received a gold bid and that their coed-cheer team has competed nationally. Prelims are Thursday. If the team advances to finals, the will again compete on April 10. Pistol Pete will also be competing for the first time at NCA Nationals in the mascot division on April 11. NCA Nationals is the largest national collegiate cheer and dance team competition with over 335 collegiate cheer and dance teams competing in their respective divisions. Of of the 198 cheer teams competing, the UW cheer team was one of just 31 teams to earn a gold bid to attend.
"As far as I am concerned, these students are already champions," Ortega said. "The team is focused, prepared and driven. We are certainly hoping to make it the finals. However, we are making history by having earned a gold bid and going to compete in our division. Anything beyond this is icing on the cake."
This is Ortega's first year as UW Head Spirit Coach, as well as Assistant Coach Marie Lopez's first year with UW.