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North Texas cheerleaders heading to national cheer competition after successful fundraising campaign

North Texas cheerleaders heading to national cheer competition after successful fundraising campaign

Courtesy | North Texas Cheer

North Texas cheerleaders heading to national cheer competition after successful fundraising campaign
February 20
13:57 2016

Nealie Sanchez | Contributing Writer

@NealieSanchez

After several fundraisers, North Texas Cheerleading successfully met its goal of raising $22,000 for the National Cheerleaders Association College Nationals competition in Daytona, Florida.

North Texas Cheer is a sports organization funded under UNT’s spirit budget, rather than the athletics department. However, the $59,400 budget provided under the spirit budget does not cover all of the costs for the team. Of the $22,000 raised, $20,000 will cover the cost of cheer camp, travel and other necessities.

After the salaries of both the cheer and dance coaches are subtracted, there is only $350 for each of the 57 students in the cheer and dance programs, according to North Texas Cheer head coach Tracie O’ Neal.

“I’m happy we raised enough for Daytona,” cheerleader Ally Cortinas said. “A lot of people don’t realize all that we do.”

There are 22 total cheerleaders, including alternates and a mascot, who are attending the NCA competition, which takes place April 6-10. The total cost of the competition is $1,000 per cheerleader after receiving a “Silver Bid” from the cheer camp the team attends in June. The bid dropped registration fees for the NCA Cheer competition from $365 per cheerleader to $85 per cheerleader and covered the cost of two of the nine necessary hotel rooms while in Daytona.

The North Texas cheerleaders raised $8,700 from a golf tournament fundraiser, $11,000 from their fifth annual calendar sales, and $7,000 from a fundraising website called Snap Raise.

“This year the golf tournament gave us a nice cushion,” O’ Neal said. “It was our first year doing it.”

According to the team’s Snap Raise page, different donation amounts are associated with different costs for the NCA Competition:
· $25 Donation: Two new bows for prelim and finals
· $50 Donation: New practice wear for official practice time.
· $100 Donation: New uniform shell for finals.
· $250 Donation: Hotel fees in Daytona.
· $500 Donation: Transportation fees including airfare and shuttles to Daytona.
· $1,000 Donation: Sends one cheerleader to Daytona with all expenses paid.

Courtesy | North Texas Cheer

North Texas Cheer poses at Apogee Stadium. Courtesy | North Texas Cheer

“We started with a base goal of $6,000 on Snap Raise,” O’Neal said. “Every time we get close to that goal, Snap Raise extends the total goal.”

The additional money earned on Snap Raise will help rent practice space to use during the cold months when the cheerleaders are unable to practice outside. The North Texas Cheerleaders do not have a typical practice space given to them by the university, instead practicing on the intramural sports practice field during the warm months.

“We rent our practice room [in the Super Pit] for $75 per hour,” O’ Neal said. “When we can’t practice outside, this room is the only place that will work with our practice schedule.”

Along with the extra fundraising necessary to compete in the national competition, the cheerleaders are also putting in extra hours at the gym. The cheerleaders tumble, stunt and run to practice and get conditioned for the routine.

“Every day you have to build your stamina,” cheerleader Skyla Meier said.

Even after rigorous training, the cheerleaders find competing in the NCA competition rewarding.

“Being at a place just for college cheer is really cool because all those people know exactly what you’re going through,” Cortinas said.

The team made it to finals in last year’s NCA competiion in Daytona, placing 13th out of 27 teams. With the strong finish, Coach O’ Neal has high expectations for this year’s competition.

“We’re entering a brand new division this year, and we have 15 cheerleaders on mat from last year,” O’ Neal said. “I think it’s going to be better for us [now that] they know what to expect. We’re back for unfinished business.”

Featured Image: North Texas Cheer will head to Daytona, Florida for the National Cheerleaders Association College Nationals competition in April. Courtesy | North Texas Cheer

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