XULA wins unaffiliated group title, vaults to top of NAIA national cheer scoreboard

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MOBILE, Ala. — Xavier University of Louisiana competitive cheer hit new scoring heights to win the NAIA Unaffiliated Group Championship at the University of Mobile’s Pharr Gym.

The victory secured for XULA, a second-year varsity program, an automatic bid to NAIA nationals March 12-13 at Davenport, Iowa.

XULA scored a school-record 89.2 points Thursday in virtual competition with Mobile, but topped that mark Saturday with 92.23 in the preliminaries and 93.33 in the final.

Final score was based on 25 percent of a team’s preliminary score and 75 percent of the final score. The math left XULA solidly in first place with 93.06 points, followed by Mobile with 89.11, Point with 84.09 and Warner with 76.91.

A year ago Mobile and Point outscored XULA in a qualifying meet for NAIA nationals. XULA finished sixth out of eight teams wth 81.87 — Martin Methodist won with 88.9 — and the Gold’s inaugural season ended at that meet.

“It has a lot to do with confidence and trust,” Caudell Collins, a freshman from Raceland, La., said of the continued scoring improvement. “As we do the routine more often and succeed, there is a very distinct level of trust and confidence to know that the person next to you is giving their all as well as yourself.”

XULA climbed to No. 1 on the NAIA’s season scoring list with 89.21 points per meet. Saint Ambrose is second with 87.63, followed by Oklahoma City at 86.71 and Mobile at 86.29.

XULA again performed for nearly three minutes to a song written specifically for the team with lyrics highlighting social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The message that we are sending through this routine — Black Lives Matter — is a very necessary one,” Collins said.

The Southern States Athletic Conference played host to the meet. Although XULA is not an affiliate member of the league in this sport, the SSAC included XULA in its all-conference and all-academic awards. Collins and teammates Marcus Barham, Madison Clay and Teddie Reid were named all-conference. XULA’s Asha Abiade, Yaa’Ann Agyeman-Yeboah, Chakayla Coulter, Kiara Davillier, Barakah Hassell Carolyn Scruggs-Webster joined Reid on the Barnes & Noble College All-Academic Team.

Each competing team nominated one athlete for the Champions of Character Team; XULA’s representative is Kiara Hawkins.

XULA’s Glenn Caston was named Coach of the Year.

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