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Cheer/Dance - Fri, Feb. 24, 2017

NAIA Competitive Cheer and Dance
2017 National Championship qualifiers

KANASAS CITY, Mo. -- The first-ever NAIA Competitive Cheer and Dance National Championship Qualifier Competition will take place on Friday and Saturdayat four school hosts sites. Each day will open with cheer and dance prelims, followed by finals and NAIA All-American tryouts.

The St. Ambrose cheer and dance teams will compete Saturday in a qualifier hosted by Siena Heights University in Adrian, Mich. The SAU dance team has won back-to-back NAIA National Invitational titles while the cheer team is coming off a fourth-place showing at Nationals last year. 

This is the fourth straight year Siena Heights has hosted a qualifer. Baker University (Kan.) in Baldwin City, Kan., will host the first qualifier on Friday. Saint Gregory's University in Shawnee, Okla., and Lindenwood University-Belleville in Belleville, Ill., will host the other two qualifiers on Saturday.

There are 44 institutions competing for eight qualifying group champions (four dance, four cheer). There will be 24 teams (12 dance, 12 cheer) that will make their way to the National Championship hosted by the Oklahoma City Stars in Oklahoma City, Okla. The top scoring team out of each qualifying group tournament, along with the next overall highest scoring teams in each sport, advance to the 2017 NAIA National Championships.

The 2017 season marks the first year the sport will conduct a NAIA National Championship. The NAIA is the only collegiate athletics association to offer a national championship in this sport. Competitive Cheer and Dance is the first to earn national championship status within the NAIA in a span of 22 years – NAIA Women's Golf became a championship sport prior to the spring of 1995.

The dance All-American tryouts consist of athletes performing three leaps (two advanced), a turn combination, a triple pirouette and an audition combination routine. In cheer, athletes must complete a standing back tuck, a toe touch, a tumbling pass with a minimum round off handspring full and a stunt requirement of a group – coed and a two person stunt.