As anyone who has attended the CIAA Tournament knows, it’s not just about basketball. Another important aspect of the tournament is the cheerleaders. In fact, they provide such entertainment that some people come mostly to see them.
The cheerleaders have a week full of events leading up to a cheerleading exhibition on Saturday, Feb. 29, the last day of the tournament – Super Saturday. The day begins, and for many ends, with the CIAA Cheerleading Exhibition.
The Saint Augustine’s University Bluechips have been preparing for the Super Saturday cheer exhibition for months, working day in and day out. This year is the last year that the CIAA will be in Charlotte, NC, so they want to have a strong performance before the annual event moves out of the state. Next year, the tournament will be held in Baltimore, MD.
The team has undergone “tons of practice,” said Malachi Dixon, head captain of the cheerleaders. Super Saturday is “a time where everyone is unified and comes together to showcase why their team is the best,” he said.
Bluechips Head Coach Charles Clark said he is determined to make the year’s performance the best ever. Added Nyshanti Greene, a senior and four-year veteran on the cheer team: “This year is very important for us.”
Cheerleaders from all eight CIAA schools perform on Super Saturday. Officially, it is not a competition, but the Bluechips are treating it that way.
“This cheer exhibition is more than just an exhibition,” Greene said. “We perform like it a competition because we want to stand out as top-notch and supreme.”
Her comments emphasize that the tournament is not just an opportunity for the Falcons to show their skills on the basketball court. It is also an opportunity to let potential students know about the school and to show it off as a university that they might want to attend. The event is the last CIAA Tournament where SAU will be able to recruit students close to home.
“We have to leave a mark in Charlotte and also encourage students to look into our university,” Greene said.
— Breana Gambrell