Published on Show Me Mizzou Sept. 4, 2023
Story by Joe Walljasper, BJ ’92
For most of the year, Mizzou’s cheerleaders play a supporting role. For one weekend in April, they are the main attraction. In 2023, the Tigers made the most of their moment in the sun … and then in the water.
Missouri’s 20-member coed team took first place in the National Cheerleading Association’s Collegiate National Championship April 8 in Daytona Beach, Florida. It marked the squad’s first national title at the event, which it’s attended since 2001.
The Tigers were in second place entering the final round of competition and had needed a near-flawless performance to win. They drew upon a year of experience cheering together from the sidelines at MU sporting events — not to mention a week of two-a-day practices while their classmates were on spring break — to produce a clean 2 minutes and 15 seconds of synchronized tumbling, jumps and stunts.
When the judges announced the final scores, and Missouri had edged East Carolina by less than three-tenths of a point, it was time for a celebratory dip.
“A tradition, because it’s in Daytona Beach, is the winning team runs into the ocean with their uniforms on,” says Coach Cynthia Metz, BS Ed ’04, MS Ed ’05. “It was thrilling to do after watching so many teams take part in the tradition over the years.”
To read more articles like this, become a Mizzou Alumni Association member and receive MIZZOU magazine in your mailbox. Click here to join.