Back to back! Averett cheerleaders named CCA Grand National Champions for second consecutive year

Posted on March 6th, 2019 by Danielle Staub

By Drew Wilson, Sports Information Director

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — With the Averett University cheerleaders gathered around in suspense, they heard their name called for the second year in a row as the Cougars were named the 2019 Christian Cheerleaders of America National Champions and Collegiate Grand Champions during the competition Saturday at the Crown Coliseum. Click here to see video of the performance on the Athletics website.

“Knowing that this year we were going to be defending our title and fighting for another ring, we just wanted to hit a clean routine and leave it all on the mat,” senior Beth Powell said. “I could not be more proud of my team, overcoming so many obstacles. We fought the hardest I’ve ever seen them fight. We wanted this for ourselves, our team and our school.”

Averett’s title defense began in the morning with a strong first round that saw the Cougars receive zero deductions, leaving head coach Samantha Sopko thrilled.

“The ladies had an awesome warmup, which carried into an incredible first round performance by hitting zero deductions,” Sopko said.

In between Round 1 and Round 2, the Cougars went over the scoresheets to clean up some of the things the judges asked them to fix. At 6:45 p.m., it was go time for Averett.
“It was a shaky start with one fall in the cheer, but the ladies performed a nearly perfect routine in Round 2 with one small deduction and raised their overall score from Round 1 as well, which was our goal,” Sopko said.

Averett went up against some new teams this year, including Kentucky Christian University and Southern Virginia University. The Cougars were the lone all-female team, battling against four coed teams. In the end, Averett was the top scoring collegiate team out of the college teams that attended in all-female, coed and stunt divisions.

“I’ve never been more proud of the team,” said Sopko, who was an assistant coach last year. “In my first season as head coach, I was nervous but excited to bring Averett cheerleading to new heights. The team never gave up when challenges arose and worked harder and pushed through every bit of change that was thrown at them. They were determined to have a successful nationals again this year and were not settling for second best. On a daily basis, they were instilled so much positivity and confidence that drove them to become back-to-back grand national champions. Our team motto this season was ‘faith over fear.’ To us, if you have faith in your teammates and coaches, you can do anything together.”

For the returners from last year’s team, they couldn’t have been more excited.

“It felt really good to become back to back national champions,” junior Mackenzie Allin said. “It was all about who was able to hit the best routine and we really put our best foot forward this weekend. We wanted to keep the energy up throughout the routine and communicate while on the mat, and I think we did both of those things. Overall, it was an amazing weekend.”

Averett cheerleading continues its competition schedule March 23 at the Clash of the Carolinas in Gaffney, South Carolina.