Cheer team stays strong through flux

The team took two firsts and two seconds at the UCA championships in Milwaukee

Derek Wetmore

Each year, the nationâÄôs top cheer teams gather to learn and compete in Universal Cheerleaders Association camps and competitions. The University of MinnesotaâÄôs all-girl gold cheerleading team has a new coach, but that hasnâÄôt impacted its dominance. Morgan Carroll is in her first year as head coach of the team, and the squad recently participated in the four-day camp and subsequent competition in Milwaukee, taking first in two events and second in the remaining two. Carroll, a recent graduate of cheerleading powerhouse Moorhead State, lead the team through camp, where they learned and rehearsed fight songs, sideline cheers and a general choreography routine. The UCA camp features some of the top cheerleaders in the country and culminated in SundayâÄôs competition. The team spent the week learning from top instructors and then put their skills to the test. Minnesota typically does very well at these competitions, and this year was no different. The team finished first in fight song, second in choreography and second in sideline. They were also elected as the leadership award winners by other cheerleaders at the camp for the fourth straight year. âÄúThe leadership award was probably the best one we could have gotten, so we were really, really happy with our results this weekend,âÄù Carroll said. In the same year that the new coach was added to the team, the turnover rate was the highest in recent memory, which means many new faces and inexperienced members. Carroll said the few remaining veterans on the team helped instill positive values with the younger student-athletes, which helped ease her into her new role. âÄúWe had a lot of turnover this last year, it would have been great to keep more of them, but I think the talent coming in this year was really high,âÄù Carroll said. âÄúI think the veterans did a good job of letting the girls know what cheering for the University of Minnesota is all about.âÄù The camp draws a thick field, including the 18-time national champion Kentucky team, so the weekend was viewed as a success for CarrollâÄôs team. âÄúSheâÄôs been really great,âÄù junior Molly Mathewson said. âÄúThe more we get to know her, the more we like her every day. SheâÄôs been a really good addition to our team.âÄù UCA was founded by Jeff Webb in 1974 to âÄúprovide high quality educational training for college and high school cheerleadersâÄù. Webb was in attendance last week in Milwaukee for the camp that Carroll called âÄúone of the best campsâÄù because it is the largest that UCA puts on in a given year. âÄúIâÄôm really proud of the way this team finished,âÄù Mathewson said. âÄúThe first day with this team was tough, trying to get everyone to understand the Minnesota expectations with so few veterans on the team, but we really improved through the camp.âÄù