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UCA College Nationals

Sarah Velez

Volume 4 Issue 3

March 13, 2024

UCA College Nationals

Image Provided by Varsity TV

When I say “cheerleader,” what do you think of? The majority of people imagine a girl dressed in a skirt shaking her poms at a football game, and although those activities are part of cheerleading, it is significant to note that such a sport consists of so much more. 

UCA College Nationals 

The UCA College Nationals is a competitive cheerleading event that has taken social media by storm, often showing off difficult stunts, demonstrating sharp and clean dances, and portraying the unique style of makeup and uniforms cheerleaders wear to perform and dazzle audiences. UCA stands for Universal Cheerleading Association, which has taken place (hand in hand with UDA College Nationals) for over 35 years. Both teams competed at the Walt Disney Resort in January 2024 from the 12th through the 14th. Despite all the controversy about whether or not cheerleading is a sport, it is important to recognize the hardships cheerleaders endure and the athletic abilities cheerleaders develop to perfect each routine that gets performed on the mat. 

The competition is separated into divisions which include… 

  • Division IA Coed Cheer 

  • Division IA All Girl Cheer 

  • Division IA Small Coed Cheer 

  • Division I Coed Cheer 

  • Division I All Girl Cheer 

  • Division I Small Coed Cheer 

  • Open Coed Cheer2 

  • Open All Girl Cheer  

  • Open Small Coed Cheer 

  • Division IA All Girl Game Day 

  • Division IA Game Day 

  • Open Coed Game Day. 

  • Small Coed Game Day 

  • Open All Girl Game Day 

With over 950 teams, overall consisting of 18,500 athletes, it is important to categorize each age group within different divisions to ensure that each team gets equal treatment against one another. Who were the winners of this impeccable competition? The winners were the University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, and overall winner, University of Memphis. 

Is Cheerleading a Sport? 

Cheerleaders often face criticism on whether cheerleading is considered a sport. Most people often fail to realize that as of 2021, the International Olympic Committee designated cheerleading as a sport! Cheerleading combats all the sports regulations and requirements as any other sport (including physical activity, point systems, and competitions) so why would it not be considered a sport? 

The Factors Within Cheerleading 

Stunting plays a huge role in cheerleading and is usually what most girls look forward to. Stunting is a four-person activity that includes a main base, a side base, a backspot, and a flyer. A flyer is in the middle, the main base is on the right, the side base is on the left, and the backspot stays behind the flyer. Stunting is no joke, because anybody can get hurt, not just the flyer. That is why it is so important to make sure there are spotters all around, ready to save a stunt if something were to go wrong. Leg strength and arm strength are crucial in providing a strong, stable foundation for the flyer. As a flyer, it is important to stay tight and squeeze your body. Aside from stunting, tumbling plays an important and entertaining role when competing against other teams. The most important skill for cheer when it comes to tumbling is a round-off, which not only comes in handy for cheer, but also gymnastics in general! A round off is known to be the most basic skill that allows you to move from one skill into the next.  

Conclusions Within Cheerleading 

Both the UCA and UDA have competed with hypnotizing routines and dances that allow viewers to truly see what cheerleading brings to the mat. If you would like to know more about UDA College Nationals, be sure to check out the NORTH STAR Article written by Giavanna Quagliata for more information. If you are in grades 9-12, be sure to try out for the Valley Stream North’s Cheer team! Follow us on Instagram @vsncheer for the latest updates! 




Sources: UCA College Nationals | Universal Cheerleaders Association ( 


Cheerleading | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica 

The Most Important Tumbling Skill Used For Cheerleading and Gymnastics — Challenge Athletics Rochester, NY Tumbling ( 

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