27 Jun Ohio State University National Collegiate Cheerleading Championships
1983 The Ohio State University National Collegiate Cheerleading Championship (Semi-Finals) – Honolulu, Hawaii
One of the highlights of my college life was traveling for the first time from Ohio to Honolulu to compete in the National Collegiate Cheerleading Championships. This was a big deal since I had never traveled further West than Minnesota for a football game. It was truly a tropical paradise. The palm trees, blue waters and white beaches were absolutely breathtaking. We had qualified to compete in the Semi-Finals by sending in a videotape of our performance and were chosen from hundreds of universities from all over the US. We arrived in Hawaii both nervous and excited to have an opportunity of winning another Cheerleading Championship since we had also won in 1980. There were five teams competing in the Semi-Finals and they would take the top two teams to move on to a live performance at halftime at the Hula Bowl.
The pressure was always high as a member of the squad. This came with the territory for those of us that were fairly new to the team. We had such a reputation for excellence year after year. There was always pressure to have the perfect performance no matter whether it was on the field/court and especially during a championship. We had a flawless performance during the semi-finals despite one of my teammates, Bill, having an allergic reaction and throwing up as he was loading me on a pyramid. I remember Bill saying he was sick and when I looked at him he was pale and his eyes were almost swollen shut. I tried to give him a pep talk as he dry heaved and it obviously worked. To this day, we laugh about that particular experience. Despite being shaky, Bill was able to get through the entire routine. We were so excited to be moving on to the Finals. Kansas State University was our closest competitor. They had chosen the theme from “Magnum PI”, which was a very popular TV series at the time. Tom Selleck was the star and it was filmed in Hawaii. We even met Tom Selleck on the set which was one of the highlights of my trip. Jan and I were fighting to see who would be at his side. Don’t know if the guys were as excited as the girls were but we were beaming to have a photo with a TV star.
As we prepared for Finals, I was a nervous wreck. I wasn’t the best tumbler on the squad and we had to do a forward roll into a backhandspring at the end of routine. I wasn’t at all consistent and I was always practicing and falling on my head most of the time. The team captains would always yell out, “no mistakes”. In cheerleading, any mistake could cost you the championship and no one wanted to be the one that was blamed for losing it all. The Finals were held at half time of the Hula Bowl. I wasn’t really nervous to perform at the 52,000 seat stadium because we cheered in front of 90,000 for our football games. Every time we ran through our routine it was flawless. I felt that we had a good chance to win since our level of difficulty was higher than that of Kansas State University. We were one of the few cheer squads on the college level where the women also tumbled.
Finally, the day of the Championship arrived and we were to perform live at halftime. The first half of the game was a blur since we spent it warming up and going through the routine over and over. We were ready! We were performing to, “Hard to say, I’m Sorry” the instrumental version at the end of the song by the group, Chicago. We opened up our routine with a revolving pyramid as we did a cheer called, “We are the Buckeyes”. Then went into our musical routine and ended with a leaning pyramid, into forward rolls and back handsprings. I was so excited to hit my back handspring for the ending. We all felt like we hit a flawless routine. They announced us the winner at the end of the third quarter. We went crazy! We had another championship under our belt.