UK cheerleaders say focusing on 'tradition' was key to 24th national title

Published: Jan. 23, 2019 at 3:50 PM EST
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The University of Kentucky cheerleading team continued their dominance over the weekend earning their 24th UCA National Championship in Orlando.

For comparison, UK men's basketball has won eight NCAA national championships.

And this championship is the cheerleading team's fourth in a row.

"This is probably the best squad I've had since I've been here," said Head Coach Jomo Thompson, who has 18 championship rings with UK.

His approach to being the best is to rely on tradition more than competition.

"So, what we try to do is pick some of the routines that former Kentucky teams have done, that have set a good benchmark," Thompson said. "Those are the routines we try to beat."

As seen by their illustrious history, that strategy works. Senior Kyle Steele says every single person on the team is competitive though, and they spend every hour that they are awake together.

Carolina Goyco, another senior member of the squad, says they are always prepared for the pressure.

"Everyone's always like, are they going to do better, are they gonna top last year and all this stuff," said Goyco. "But, we always live up to the expectations and come out with a win."

Competition, tradition or focusing on both, the Wildcats are comfortable with the eyes on them.

"It's dead quiet in there too, it's kinda surreal," Goyco said. "I know some of them are hoping we hit, but I feel like the majority are like come on I hope they fall ... but it's that kind of pressure that we like. We like proving people wrong, and also we just like bringing this title back to the bluegrass."

The cheerleaders and dance team will be honored at Kentucky's basketball game against Kansas on Saturday.

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