PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast's Cheer Team will be performing its routine one last time in town before heading to the national championships, and the squad invites you to join them.
The National Showcase will be held at South Elite Cheer in Wiggins on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The team will leave after the event to head to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the UCA College Cheerleading National Championship.
"Our goal is to go and hit a zero-deduction routine, no mistakes," Gulf Coast Cheer coach Karlee Nobles said. "When you do that, you have zero regrets. You came and did what you were supposed to do."
The Bulldogs squad will compete Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex's Arena North. They are scheduled to do their semifinal routine at 10:09 a.m. ET.
The Bulldogs have been in intensive training sessions the last two weeks at South Elite Cheer, run by a pair of MGCCC Cheer alums who have let them work out free of charge.
Gulf Coast jacked up the difficulty in their routine this year coming off participating for the first time ever and finishing an impressive third place.
"Last year, we just went to get that experience and learn what it was about," Nobles said. "We increased the difficulty in our baskets and pyramids. We'll continue to do that each year."
Gulf Coast is one of 11 teams participating in the Small Coed Division II competition, and it's the only junior college in the division. Two other MACJC schools are sending teams in different categories.
The Bulldogs have three members returning from last year's, which means there are 16 newcomers. Nobles stressed recruiting people with competitive cheer backgrounds, and their hunger to achieve has been obvious.
"They've been a pleasure to work with," she said. "They work hard. They want to do things that are difficult. They don't want to take the easy way out."
More information about the competition, including a link to Varsity TV to watch online, can be found at https://uca.varsity.com/College/College-Nationals. The seven finalists will be announced at 11:30 a.m., with the finals starting at 3 p.m.
Nobles expects her team to perform their 2-minute, 30-second routine twice. At least.
"We want to do it three times," she said. "The national champion comes out and does an encore performance. We want to do it three times."
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.