May 17, 2010
By Stefan Nolet
It's been just longer than one month since the Oklahoma State large coed cheerleading team won first place in the National Cheerleaders Association's National Collegiate Competition.
The competition took place April 7-11 in Daytona Beach, Fla. OSU competed against 13 other Division I cheerleading squads.
Cheerleading coach Leroy McCullough said even a month after winning, the team is still pumped up about taking first place. He said the excitement even carried over into tryouts for next year's squad, which were recently held.
"Everybody's still pretty excited," McCullough said. "We just had our tryouts for next year. We had a lot of kids from all over the country come and try out to be a part of our family."
Recruiting for cheerleading is similar to recruiting in any collegiate sport; winning helps draw in the top talent. McCullough said OSU's recent national championship helped interest cheerleaders from around the country to try out for OSU.
"Recruiting in cheerleading is pretty tough," McCullough said. "We have a really solid foundation of cheerleaders in Oklahoma and Texas, which is where we draw a lot of our kids from, but it's hard to get some of these other elite kids from around the country if you're not successful."
The team is returning 18 of its members, losing only six cheerleaders to graduation. Twelve new members were selected in the tryouts, bringing the total number of cheerleaders for next year's squad to 30.
This will be McCullough's seventh year as cheerleading coach. In his first two years, the team took third place in the competition. The next three years, it took second place. This year, the squad got over the hump and took home first place.
The competitors are judged on how difficult their routine is and how well they execute that routine, McCullough said. With those standards, he emphasized how much effort the cheerleaders put in to be successful and how they persevered in order to win the competition.
"We actually opened our routine with a mistake," McCullough said. "But the rest of our routine was so good that it carried us through to where we were still able to be successful."