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Baptist univ.’s cheerleaders tapped as top Christian squad

ABILENE, Texas (BP)–Hardin-Simmons University’s cheerleaders emerged as the nation’s top Christian cheerleading team in the National Cheerleading Association’s April 6-7 competition in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Competing in the Division II/Division III bracket, the HSU cheerleaders finished seventh overall and were the top Division III team. All six teams finishing ahead of the Cowboy cheerleaders in the bracket were from Division II scholarship schools.

HSU, a Baptist-affiliated university in Abilene, Texas, also placed higher than any other Christian university in any of the six divisions to earn the distinction as the top Christian cheerleading team in the nation.

The cheerleaders did not focus solely on competing while in Daytona Beach, Fla. Over a two day period, the squad handed out more than 3,000 cups of water, distributed almost 500 Frisbees with Christian messages and tossed out 50 T-shirts that proclaimed, “Hardin-Simmons University … In God We Trust.”

The shirts were seen on people and the Frisbees were seen being tossed around throughout the week. More than 10,000 spectators watched HSU perform their “In God We Trust” message to Christian music.

The HSU cheerleaders received much publicity throughout the week. A picture of the team performing with coach Michael Cone watching ran on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. Cone was wearing an HSU cheer shirt with a Bible verse on the back that was clearly visible in the picture.

The Cowboy cheerleaders were featured in a story about the championships on a Fox News station in the central Florida region.

When asked how difficult it was to be a cheerleader, the HSU squad hoisted the reporter on top of a pyramid more than 15 feet into the air. The reporter did his story from atop the squad and then did a trust fall into the arms of the guys below, saying his opinion of cheerleading changed forever.

Cone was also featured in an article about the competition on Cheerleadingnews.com. He was one of only three coaches from more than 180 schools to be quoted in the article.

Highlights of the competition will be shown nationally on the USA Cable Network May 21 at 8 a.m. Eastern.

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