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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M cheer on the road to Daytona

Texas A&M cheer squad celebrates after completing new choreography with Dahlston Delgado. (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Cheer)

The three-time and reigning national champion Texas A&M cheer squad will compete in the MaXout Bryan cheer and dance competition this Saturday, Feb. 17, a small step in its journey to reclaim the national title.

This local competition will serve as a useful opportunity to get comfortable performing on a stage with a competitive atmosphere and receive constructive comments from the judges in preparation for nationals. The National Cheer Association College Nationals competition will take place in Daytona, Florida, on April 10-13, with approximately 430 teams competing in their respective divisions. The national competition is a single annual event where each collegiate squad across the country gets one shot to take home the champion title.

Since bringing home its third national title in 2023, the program has been in a rebuilding period, with the largest group of freshmen in three years and a near-even split in the number of returning members. With bright eyes and eager spirits among the rookies, the entire atmosphere has shifted, senior squad member Alexandria Gibson said.

“We got basically a whole new team this year,” Gibson said. “There’s a lot of talent that came in this year. At the start of the spring semester, we had a couple girls leave. So we’re still trying to bounce back from that, but every single girl on the team right now has stepped up.”

Junior squad member Chloe Hacker said another part of the rebuilding process is teaching the freshmen the significance of the national title. Despite now being a part of the winning team with the returning members, Hacker explained that the rookies don’t have the first-hand experience of being named champions.

“They know that they’re a part of a winning team, but they weren’t necessarily a part of us winning last year,” Hacker said. “But they’re so eager to be a part of that. So they’re making it happen … a huge shout out to the rookies for stepping up and filling in the gaps.”

Despite keeping its eyes on the prize and the national title, fostering a steadfast bond among this new squad is priority number one.

“At the end of the day, yes, winning is fun and going to Daytona is fun,” Gibson said. “But these are your people, your family … I told my mom as soon as I made the team, ‘These are my people.’ But you absolutely have to be a family before you can even think about even winning.”

The local youth competition in Bryan is a valuable opportunity for the new squad to get its first-time jitters out with a panel of judges and a lively crowd, a small step in the journey back to Daytona Beach.

“We’re competing, but not necessarily competing against the other teams,” Hacker said. “But it is a great way to get out in the community. The youth teams and the young cheerleaders get to see us in our uniforms and take photos with us and they just get so excited.”

As the road to Daytona pushes on, the reigning champions will continue cultivating the bonds that stand as the backbone of the A&M cheer program.

“I’m excited for the rookies to just get to know each other … to have these people now and forever,” Gibson said. “Through the duration of their college career and even the rest of their life, I just want more than anything for them to have a good experience. I can’t wait to see where the rest of this semester takes us as a team.”

The MaXout Bryan competition is open to the public at the new Legends Event Center in Bryan with a small entrance fee this Saturday, Feb. 17, starting at 6:30 p.m.

A&M cheer will also travel to Galveston on March 10 for another competition and will participate in a practice performance with the Blinn College cheer squad on a date to be determined. The annual home showoff will be open to spectators and tentatively held in the archery room of the Student Recreation Center on March 24.

Follow @tamu_cheer on Instagram and visit its website for more information about upcoming events.

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