DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Blinn College cheer and dance teams have each claimed their fifth consecutive national titles at the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships.
"It is always amazing to see the kids work so hard all year long and to finally see it all come together and them all do so well," said Sarah Flisowski, spirit coordinator.
Blinn cheer made history as the first team to win five consecutive national championships in Small Coed Division II. Blinn took first place with a score of 95.10 over second-place Lindenwood University (93.50) and third-place University of Central Oklahoma (92.43).
"Our cheerleaders' skill level is by far what makes them stand out, but the routine had meaning and was a tribute routine that was all about Jarred," said Michael Brewster, head cheer coach. "It highlighted him and our love for him, so it wasn't the same style of years past or of other teams that were there. It was easy to put passion to a routine that had that type of meaning to it."
Blinn College won its title with a cheer routine in honor of Jarred Pecina, a Blinn College cheerleader who passed away in January. The Buccaneers honored Pecina in the cheer routine by wearing "JF5" wristbands and bows. Next Step Cheer created a custom tribute track including several JF5 vocals and a moment of silence before their jump section.
"It was so amazing to place first because we have been looking forward to this the entire year," said sophomore Kelsie Conn. "It was definitely special that Jarred was there watching over us and in our music the entire time. Every few seconds it would say "JF5" for Jarred and the moment of silence just constantly reminded us of who was watching over us during the routine."
The Blinn dance team earned its first national title in Junior College Dance Team Performance with a score of 9.192 over second-place Riverside City College (9.188) and third-place Iowa Central Community College (8.836). In previous years, the Treasures competed in the Dance Team Performance Division III, which they won their last title in 2015.
"We worked so hard all year so to place first in team performance was a really great accomplishment for us," sophomore Jessica Hoff said. "This year we were really into the choreography and the music, so we just really connected as a team."
The Treasures narrowly missed on two national titles in the same year, as dance finished second with a score of 9.477 to Shobi (Japan) University Veritas (9.757) in Pom Division II.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.