By Paulina Jayne Isaac
Sociology and Journalism Junior at Temple University
For anyone who has seen Bring It On, you know that cheerleading is not all fun and pom-poms. What you don't know is what happens to talented cheerleaders once they graduate from their kingdom -- high school. In a lot of ways they're the same as most other athletes: many give up the sport (yes, sport) while the lucky ones continue at the college level. Some programs rise above the rest and attract the most elite and experienced cheerleaders by offering scholarships and the chance to be national champions. These cheerleaders take it a step further by not only cheering for football and basketball games, but also competing in fierce tournaments around the country.
10. University of Southern California
Technically, the USC Song Girls are not cheerleaders in the traditional sense. They don't stunt and are primarily a dance team. However, they are a main staple when it comes to Trojan pride, as they were established in 1967 and perform dozens of new routines at sporting events every year. They're beloved beauties who earn the right to call Southern California home.
9. Washington State University
Despite being around for a century, the Cougars are still considered to be up and coming in the cheer world. However that hasn't stopped them from competing and placing high up in competitions. The team finished 12th at last year's UCA National Championship and in USA Today, the UCA CEO said, "[Washington State is] definitely a team on the rise." Never doubt an underdog...or maybe cat in this case.
8. University of Minnesota
Cheerleading would not be the same without the Golden Gophers. It was at Minnesota when student Johnny Campbell decided to use choreographed cheers as a way to push the team to victory, changing how cheerleading was performed forever. They are still changing the game. You've heard of football cheerleaders, you've heard of basketball cheerleaders, but have you heard of hockey cheerleaders? With three cheerleading teams, a hockey cheer team and a dance team, the University of Minnesota doesn't slack when it comes to spirit. With their all-girl team ranking 7th in the National Cheerleading Association nationals, the Golden Gophers must be doing something right.
7. Indiana University
One of the biggest aspect of cheerleading is the stunting, but Indiana takes it to the next level with impressive and original stunting without the help of male cheerleaders. The Indiana Hoosiers scream girl power not only by winning three consecutive all-girl national awards, but also by their impressive stunting and dancing completely in unison.
6. Louisiana State University
Not every team has a Nike sneaker named after them (talk about having street cred). The LSU Tigers know how to make an entrance. Every game, they enter Tiger Stadium atop mascot Mike the Tiger's cage. This team takes it one step further; in addition to cheering for the teams and competing in national championships, they also perform with the marching band. "The best part about cheering for LSU is being able to cheer in Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night in Death Valley in front of over 100,000 people! Words cannot describe the feeling I get when the band takes the field for pregame. It's one of the best feelings I've ever felt," said senior captain Skyler Bouillion.
Go to CollegeMagazine.com for the full list.
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