Cougarettes set to Debut Nationals Routine
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Prior to this weekend’s Universal Dance Association (UDA) College Nationals, the College of Charleston dance team – the Cougarettes – will premiere their revamped routine to local supporters on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the TD Arena.
The Cougarettes will then depart for Orlando, Fla., and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Friday after self-raising over $20,000 to cover entry fees, travel expenses, and uniform costs.
Charleston will be one of 12 programs competing in Saturday’s semifinals of UDA College Nationals, the most prestigious college cheerleading and dance team championship in the country. The top six routines will advance to the finals on Sunday.
Unlike previous years when the Cougarettes competed in both Pom and Hip Hop divisions, the Cougarettes have worked tirelessly to perfect their challenging Hip Hop routine only, one they’ve heralded as the most difficult in program history.
With the routines being judged on difficulty, originality, musicality, formation, crowd reaction, coordination, and unison, the heightened difficulty raises the ceiling for the Cougarettes’ potential, but the stakes are raised as well as the squad must coordinate high-level tricks and partner-reliant maneuvers.
“We are excited to debut the best routine to come through our program,” said Taylor Schuman, a junior captain on the squad. “When we took it on, we knew it was going to be a challenge. We’ve worked really hard to perfect the tricks and achieve the endurance required to get through such an up-tempo routine. I think that hard work has paid off, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to shot it.”
In addition to the challenges of performing such a demanding routine, the Cougarettes’ 12-member competition squad features six newcomers who have never competed at the collegiate level. Despite this, the squad remains confident that their youth won’t be an inhibiting factor.
“I remember arriving at Nationals for the first time as a freshman,” said Caroline Byrd, who is now a junior and captain on the team. “It can be intimidating to perform in front of so many people and alongside the big-name programs, but I believe this group is ready for it. The veterans have prepared the new girls for what to expect, and they’ve worked really hard and shown real confidence and a positive attitude.”