photo credit: Matt Bish
The University of West Georgia (UWG) coed cheerleading team won its 19th overall title at the Division II Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) College Nationals on Saturday, Jan. 17 in Orlando, FL.
In addition to the co-ed team winning first place, the UWG all-girl team placed second in the Division I Small College competition. Nicole Nichols, head coach for both the coed and all-girls UWG cheerleading teams, equates the cheer team’s continued years of success to great team work and a good foundation.
“It all starts with committed team members who buy in from the beginning and continue to show dedication and maintain an excellent work ethic year after year,” said Nichols. “We have certain processes that we follow throughout the year to ensure we are on the right path. We have stuck to that foundation with minor changes year to year because it clearly produces great results. We also have astounding support from our athletic department, community, friends, family and alumni.”
It is only Nichols’ fifth season coaching at UWG, but she has set forth a strategy to ensure that she and the rest of her coaching staff continue to improve the team every year.
“My plan is to stick to what works and make changes where changes are needed because each team is different and has different needs from year to year,” said Nichols.
The Division II UCA College Nationals is the only competition the UWG cheerleaders compete in every year, so much of the team’s time is dedicated to school games and functions and practicing. However, the team does not have a problem with the amount of time it takes to become National Champions multiple years in a row.
“We practice three times a week on top of football or basketball games,” said Nichols. “However, the kids get together more than three times a week to practice outside of team practices. They have a drive to get better.”
With the UCA Nationals over and the UWG spring semester starting, the UWG cheerleading team will be looking for new members soon.
“We are currently finishing out cheering on our men’s and women’s basketball teams and hoping for some playoff games,” said Nichols. “We are practicing two times a week now and recruiting for the upcoming season.”
Anyone interested in joining UWG cheerleading family this year can find all the information on the UWG sports website when it becomes available. However, the cheerleading team does not allow anyone onto the team.
“We look for an athlete that has heart and is ready to join a family and uphold a great tradition,” said Nichols. “We want kids who will be dedicated to the program and have strong self-motivation to be their best. We want kids with great character and who can be trusted to represent our program and university.”
photo credit: Matt Bish