April 07 2016
Heading into last year's National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) College Nationals, the Elmira College cheerleading team was as confident as ever. After winning Cheersport Nationals in February, the Soaring Eagles went on to take first place in every event in which they competed.
The 2016 season, however, could not have been any different.
Despite the struggles, mainly stemming from a rash of injuries and forced changes to the competition schedule, it appears that the Purple and Gold have peaked at the right time.
"I tell them all of the time that they're probably the most resilient team that I have ever coached," said head coach Amber Myers. "They are very tenacious and have been able to bounce back from everything. I wish I could change some of the injuries that happened, obviously, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and these are the 20 girls that should be on the mat. I am feeling confident in them heading into nationals."
Coming off of a gold medal performance at the Spirit Unlimited Albany Capital Masters on April 2nd, the competition team showed off its routine in front of the Elmira faithful on Monday afternoon at Speidel Gymnasium, before migrating south to Daytona Beach, FL, for the national event. As Myers proudly stated to her squad, Monday's routine was one of the best she had seen from her team in her 10 years at Elmira. It was a performance almost good enough to guarantee that the Soaring Eagles will find themselves among the top-three schools at nationals for a third straight year.
"The expectation is always high for our team," Myers said. "We go in there with the aspiration of placing in the top three and we are hoping to do that again this year."
EC returns to Daytona Beach following back-to-back third-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. The two-time national champions will look to claim their third title this week, beginning with the preliminary round on Thursday, April 7th, at the Ocean Center. Elmira will take the mat at 12:02 p.m. in the prelims, as one of 14 schools competing in the All-Girl Cheer Division III. Eight teams will advance to the finals on Friday, April 8th, at the Daytona Beach Bandshell, beginning at 3:56 p.m.
Returning to the NCA College Nationals this season are all of the top-seven teams from a year ago and 10 of the 12 finalists, including reigning champion Davenport University and 2014 title winner Bridgewater State University. In 2015, the Soaring Eagles received a pre-deduction score of 91.80, the second-best among the dozen finalists, but finished in third place with an 89.80 after deductions. Davenport scored a 93.73 to win gold, while Montclair State University, one of three teams without a deduction, won silver with a score of 90.70.
The final round of the 2016 NCA College Nationals on Friday, April 8th, will be streamed live online. On-demand video of the prelims and finals will be made available after each day of competition. For more information on the 2016 NCA College Nationals, including live streaming details, click here.