UPDATE: UCF’s cheerleading squad placed second at the College Cheerleading National Championships Sunday night. Despite a flawless performance they placed behind Alabama at the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This is the second consecutive year the squad has placed second nationally. Knightmoves dance team also competed in the Hip Hop division of the World University Cheerleading Championships and finished as a runner-up.

UCF’s spirit squad got ready for the College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship today by hosting visiting teams from LSU, Tennessee and Mississippi State at the CFE Arena.

The competition gets underway Saturday. The Division IA Dance Hip Hop Finals begin at 3:30 p.m. UCF is scheduled to compete in the Cheerleading World University Championships at 1:32 p.m., and the Dance World University Championships at 5:30 p.m. The Division IA Cheer Finals will begin at 6:30 p.m.

To prepare, UCF’s cheer and dance teams practiced alongside those they’ll face off against at the championship competition.

“We have worked very hard this year to prepare a performance that we can execute with confidence, one that will impress the judges and make our UCF fans proud,” UCF Cheerleading head coach Linda Gooch said.

Last year UCF Cheerleading placed second, after the University of Kentucky, in the same competition. The Knights have placed in the top-10 of the College Cheerleading National Championship 19 times in the last 21 years under Gooch’s leadership, including national titles in 2003 and 2007.
“The dance team has worked hard with strength coach Drew Williams to increase the athleticism and power of the team in order to be able to execute the difficult tricks that are included in this year’s choreography,” Gooch noted. “The cheerleaders look to match the consistency of last year’s team and hope to gain difficulty points in basket tosses and with an ending pyramid sequence that is both entertaining and highly acrobatic.”

Friday’s practice session was just one of the ways the teams got revved up for this weekend.

Earlier in the week, the dance team KnightMoves hosted a Family and Friends Showcase, and the cheerleaders hosted an alumni, family and friends practice. And they all visited Disney’s Wide World of Sports to see the national venue on Thursday..