UK Cheerleaders win 18th title

For an unprecedented 18th time, the University of Kentucky cheerleading team won the Universal Cheerleading Association's national championship at the 2010 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championships on Sunday at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Head coach Jomo Thompson and the cheerleading squad has now claimed three consecutive national championships, including 14 out of the last 16 years.

The Wildcats finished way ahead of the competition, posting a final score of 96.517 out of 100. Alabama finished second with an 89.517 and Central Florida finished third with an 88.517.

“Each one we win is just as special as the first one,” said Thompson, who has now won 12 national championships during his time both cheering and coaching at UK. “It is great to see the kids work so hard and accomplish a goal. We always have adversity, it comes up every year. A couple of kids got the stomach bug down here but we battled through it and didn’t let anything stop us from our goal. We did what we set out to do: win another national title.”

Kentucky won eight straight national titles from 1995 to 2002 before finishing second in 2003. The Wildcats then won three straight from 2004 to 2006, falling short in 2007 with a third-place finish. UK has since claimed the title the last three years. Since Kentucky won its first title in 1985, it has won in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 - more than any other Division IA school.

“It never gets old,” Thompson said. “I enjoy winning. I want to collect as many rings as we can get, and so does this program. That is something that we strive for every year. It we get second or third, we are not satisfied with that. We want first place.”

Kentucky blue is spread all over the top three with several former UK cheerleaders working on the Alabama and UCF staff. Former UK assistant coach David McDowell is now the head cheerleading coach at Alabama. McDowell was a UK cheerleader from 2001 to 2003 and took over assistant coaching honors from 2004 to 2006. UCF’s coach also cheered at UK in the early 1990s.

Thompson and the rest of the team will be honored with their award before the men’s basketball game against Arkansas at Rupp Arena on Saturday. Tipoff for the game is set for 4 p.m. ET.

UK Dance Team Finishes Fifth in National Pom Category

Under new head coach Dawn Duncan Walker, the University of Kentucky dance team finished fifth in the pom category at the national championships on Sunday.

Last year, the Wildcats finished seventh in the jazz division, but under new tutelage and in a new category, the pom division, Walker is very happy with her team’s fifth-place finish.

“It is great because it is in the pom division and a majority of these kids have never competed in or even preformed a pom routine,” Walker said. “It was not until halftime of an event at UK that they ever did an actual pom-pom routine.

“We are really excited because they worked really hard to do something that was not necessarily something they are used to doing.”

The Wildcats finished fifth behind Minnesota, Memphis, Colorado and Oklahoma, respectfully. Finishing behind UK was Iowa, Ohio State and UCF.

Kentucky won the national title in the jazz category in 2005.