BY LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky cheerleading coach Jomo Thompson challenged his team when practiced started.
“This was a year that lot of people said we were not supposed to win (the national championship) and I even told team at the beginning of the year we were not as good in some areas as we needed to be,” Thompson said.
If that was true, it changed because Kentucky executed a near flawless performance in its final routine at the nationals in Orlando last month to win its third straight national title — and 23rd overall. Thompson said UK did that even though four team members had the flu and the team also had a stunt mishap in the semifinals.
“I do not worry about hitting a perfect routine in the semifinals because that can make their heads too big. That kind of humbled us,” Thompson said. “We were still head and shoulders above everyone else coming out of semifinals, but I didn’t let them know that.”
Kentucky scored a 97.3 out of 100 in the finals, just below the 98 Thompson had the team aiming for.
“We are competing against some great cheerleading teams from the past (at UK),” Thompson said. “Every year our goal is to introduce a new element not seen in cheerleading. Our goal is to raise the bar every year. That is something that allows a team to thrive.”