For the first time in its 76-year existence, the Tyler Junior College Apache Cheer team has earned the title of national champion.
TJC took first place in the Intermediate Large Coed Open Division in the National Cheerleaders Association’s College Nationals competition last weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“We work a whole year preparing for a routine that lasts 2 minutes and 15 seconds,” said Tammy Rose, TJC cheer head coach. “We started this journey last summer at NCA college camp at SMU in Dallas, where we earned a bronze bid to attend NCA College Nationals.”
Rose said the team spent the last year refining their stunt sequences and tumbling skills in their quest for gold at Daytona.
“We planned about five performances throughout the fall to get the athletes used to performing in front of large crowds,” Rose said. “But once we got back from Christmas break, it was ‘all gas and no brakes’ until the day we left for Daytona. The athletes practiced daily, with extra night practices on Mondays; and they gave up their spring break to stay and have all-day practices.”
This was in addition to cheering at TJC men’s and women’s basketball games and participating in off-campus appearances.
“There were six teams in our division at nationals,” Rose said. “I knew we had the difficulty needed to win, but we just needed the execution of the routine to match! I am so proud of them and all their months of hard work. There were times everyone wanted to give up, but they never did. They kept going — all the way to first place!”
TJC Apache Cheer members and their hometowns: Joanna Andujo, Irving; Emma Bauml, Castroville; Kaylee Beavers, Diana; Kennedy Crawford, Greenville; Michael Del Angel, Pharr; Zoe Fields, Rusk; Kyle George, Durban, South Africa; Alexis Hart, Gladewater; Kortlyn Hayley, Tyler; Katie Jones, Alto; Makayla Lee, Harker Heights; Emily Lenius, Winnsboro; Ty’Dashia Jones McMiller, Tyler; Jorge Morales, Winona; Charlton Muller, Diana; Collins Nnoli, Lekki Lagos, Nigeria; Amya Powell, Haltom City; Ethan Ramos, Mansfield; Ry’Yez Riggins, Palestine; Lexie Stanley, Rusk; Tristan Taylor, Tyler; Barbara Waller, McComb, Ohio; and Brandi Willis, Rockwall.
For more information on the team, go to TJC.edu/ApacheCheer.