The Commerce High School cheerleading squad continued its winning ways with a division victory at the National Cheerleaders Association State of Texas competition, as well as receiving an overall award.
The Tiger Cheer team competed at the NCA event at the Dallas Convention Center on Dec. 15. Commerce competed in a very small 3A division, but still managed to beat out state cheer powerhouse Tatum in the Band Chant, Cheer and Fight Song categories.
Even more impressive, the Tigers received the overall award for technical excellence, beating out schools at the 4A, 5A and 6A level for the achievement. Dozens of schools participated across multiple divisions.
Commerce Cheer Coach Sawyer Cunningham said that the NCA event is a good indicator of what to expect at the UIL Spirit State Championships scheduled for January.
“They get judged on things like execution and technique of the routines,” Cunningham said. “It is similar to how UIL is judged, so we think this is a good indicator for what to look for.”
The UIL championships are on Jan. 16, and the Tigers are looking to continue a run of success. In 2017 Commerce won the UIL Small School Co-ed Championship and finished as runners-up in the larger 3A division in 2019.
The past few months have seen some hardware added to the trophy cabinet. The Tigers took home a slew of awards from a Universal Cheerleaders Association regional camp this summer, and beat several schools ranging from the 2A to 6A level in a tumbling competition at the UCA Regional in November.
Cunningham said the team plans to attend the NCA Nationals in February.
Jennie Reynolds, assistant cheer coach, said that in this sport, it’s important to stay consistent.
“All of these competitions take place over months of time,” Reynolds said. “Some teams can get hot for a few weeks but falter when UIL comes. We just need to stay consistent in what we do.”
Cunningham talked about the difficulties of competitive cheer.
“Cheer is subjective, the judges can like it one day and not the next,” Cunningham said. “It’s just important that we know we aren’t necessarily competing against another team, we are competing against our routine and making sure we do everything we are supposed to do.”
Commerce cheer will have a final “warm up” for UIL when they attend the Stephen F. Austin University Gameday competition on Jan. 4. Cunningham, never shy about making predictions about success, said she has high hopes for UIL.
“I am confident the team is going to do well,” Cunningham said.