For the first time, a historically Black university took home the top prize at the annual CheerSport Nationals competition.
Savannah State University’s cheerleading team won first place at the event held in Atlanta Sunday, Feb. 19 with a final score of 87.62. The group of a dozen women and one man told WJCL it was an honor to take home the purple-and-gold trophy.
“We’re all very proud,” Dathan Gooden, the lone man on the team, said. “We wanted to bring this home because no one ever really saw us accomplish anything like that before or really [knows] what we’re about, so we just wanted to bring it home.”
The CheerSport win was the first of its kind for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team, which also competed in the 24-year-old competition in 2013. The Tigers placed eighth that year in the college level 4 division.
“We are very excited, ecstatic, just a feeling that you can’t explain,” Morgan Moore said. “It’s indescribable. It’s just a great feeling to know that we’ve made history at our school.”
The excitement spilled out onto social media, with other team members sharing videos and photos from the tournament.
Savannah State Cheer 1st place National Champions #pleaseunderstand #ssu pic.twitter.com/vOCfKYWr7c
— Kris10💖✨ (@_Kris__10) February 19, 2017
We didn't know we were making history we were just having fun , working hard and making memories 🏆😍 #CHEERSPORT2017 #savannahstate #Champs4L pic.twitter.com/NwCheMDLBy
— Gemya Gadson (@Gemyaaa) February 20, 2017
Many fans tweeted congratulatory words for the team after the news made headlines.
Congrats to HBCU Savannah State University for making history at the cheerleader competition.
— Zach Badger-House (@ZachBadgerhouse) February 21, 2017
CONGRATS TO THE SSU COMPETITION CHEER TEAM FOR WINNING CHEERSPORT!!!!!!!!! 🐯#ProudCheerAlum
— hashtag poor (@_fknopinionated) February 19, 2017
One special message came from actress Gabrielle Union, who played cheer captain of the fictional East Compton Clovers in the 2000 comedy “Bring It On.”
💪💪💪💪🔥🔥🔥🔥❤❤❤ #TheyBroughtIt https://t.co/oHbj4KBNlM
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 20, 2017