OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Bethel College Cheer program made history Saturday afternoon by finishing among the Top 10 at the first ever NAIA Competitive Cheer National Championship, which was held this weekend on the campus of Oklahoma City University. The Threshers managed to finish 10th out of the 12 teams who were able to qualify for the competition. This was a two spot improvement in some aspects, as they were the last team to garner a qualification bid two weeks ago. The competition was won by Oklahoma City University with a score of 87.08, and Midland University (Neb.) took home the championship in the Dance division, with a score of 91.38.
Things weren't exactly rolling from the beginning, as Bethel's routine in the preliminary round on Friday was a bit off-point. Whether it was butterflies from being on a national stage, or just rotten luck, the team at moments was a bit unsynced and unfortunate errors were made with the lifts and tumbles. Many other teams were anything but perfect as well during their preliminary routines, and Bethel found themselves not that far off the pack.
After Day 1, the Threshers held a score of 65.3, which was good enough for 10th out of 12 at the time. This score would go on to count towards 25% of the final score, meaning Saturday's finals routine would mean that much more to execute flawlessly. Here were the complete scores from Day 1:
|2nd||St. Francis (Ind.)||80.77|
|6th||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||74.27|
|7th||Saint Gregory's (Okla.)||72.77|
|12th||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||61.38|
The kinks were all worked out for their performance on Day 2, however. Bethel performed with an energy and confidence not seen before this season, and it was obvious everything they had was left out on the mats for this final performance of the 2017 season. You can find the video of their performance on the Bethel College Athletics Facebook page, by clicking here.
Once the competitions were completely finished, the awards ceremony was held and the final places were announced. Despite a fantastic finals routine, their snafu from the first day caused Bethel to be held back a bit in the final scoring, with a final calculation of 69.58 and a 10th place finish. They were able to cut their point gap in half though with the 9th place finisher from the first day (Saint Gregory's with 72.59).
Here are the official final scores from the 2017 NAIA Competitive Cheer National Championship:
|2nd||Saint Francis (Ind.)||82.93|
|6th||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||73.48|
|9th||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||72.59|
|11th||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||64.93|
Congratulations to the members of the Thresher Invitational AND KCAC Conference Championship winning Bethel Cheer team and Coach Joseph Gogus on a spectacular season!