"I can't begin to explain how proud I am of this team," head JMU cheerleading coach Kelly Moore said. "We have been working hard for the past two seasons to create a nationally recognizable program in the cheer world and we are really coming into our own. The amount of hard work and dedication these young athletes put in to everything they do is unparalleled by any other team I have coached."
The Dukes won competitions in the categories of "Game Day" and "Rally Routine", earning the unit one of 11 gold bids doled out in the 30-team field. A gold bid designates a squad among the top of the competitive list and brings with it benefits, such as reduced cost in both registration and accommodations to the April 10-14, 2013 national event to be held in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"Going to camp can be a really intimidating experience, especially since we attended the largest college camp in the country with 30 teams and more than 800 athletes," Moore said. "But, by going in as a national championship team we definitely felt more confident. When we were on the mat performing you could see the comfort and confidence of our athletes; they really fed off of the pressure to perform," Moore added.
|In addition, junior Shannon Connolly (Richmond, Va./Cosby High School) earned All-America honors, a first for the JMU program.
"I'm extremely excited about it," Connolly said on her All-America status. "Our team also did excellent. We have a great group of individuals, and I can't wait for what this year has to bring."
A student-athlete must able to perform a variety of skills with precision, including a standing tuck, tumbling pass consisting
Moore said, "Shannon is a perfect example of our collective hard work and dedication. She was coming off of a knee injury that almost prohibited her from attending camp, but because of her strong will and incredible desire to be the best, she rehabbed all summer and continued to train to ensure her All-America status. She is an incredible athlete and I couldn't be happier that she received this honor. She is a great person to represent our program. "
JMU fans will get the chance to see the Dukes in action at Bridgeforth Stadium this fall and at the JMU Convocation Center during the men's and women's basketball seasons. The Dukes will also be appearing at other sporting events throughout the year.
"Our first focus is to create an incredible game-day environment for football and basketball," said Moore on the preparation for the national event. "We will be incorporating a lot of the stunts, tumbling and basket tosses in our game day that we will be using for nationals. Our national season begins in November, and we plan to increase our stunt and tumbling difficulty this year while pushing each other to reach the next level."
The program also won a national championship in 1996.