The IWU Cheer Team celebrates their second-place finish in Daytona Beach.

The IWU Cheer Team celebrates their second-place finish in Daytona Beach.

The Indiana Wesleyan cheer team placed second in their division at the NCA Collegiate National Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida earlier this month.

This is the second year the team has gone to the NCAs. Last year, they placed third. Coach Jordan Elder believes that experience played large part in the team’s second place finish.

IWU Cheer competed in the NAIA Small Coed Division against 10 other teams.

“Both years it has been a young team,” Elder said. “Last year we knew what to expect, but it was still a new experience; but this year we knew what it was like going in.”

This year, the team went to regionals in Hammond, Ind. where they competed against other teams in the division. They won a gold bid, which meant they qualified for nationals–and got eight free hotel rooms in the bargain.

Every year the team does a new routine at nationals, and this year was no different. However, this season Elder hired choreographer Tyler Houchin in December to help them out.

“He’s a good friend of mine,” Elder said. “I’ve known him for years and I trusted him to do a good job.”

The IWU Cheer Team competed in the NAIA Small Coed Division against 10 other teams.

The IWU Cheer Team competed in the NAIA Small Coed Division against 10 other teams.

The routine consisted of different elements choreographed to fulfill the requirements of the the nationals score sheet. The team knew they would be judged by the skill level of the routine. According to Elder, the team’s talent called for a high skill set routine.

With this routine, they surrendered first place to Missouri Valley College by only 0.6 points.

“I was excited, although I know [the team] might have been a little disappointed,” said Elder. “But they did make it so far. It’s a huge accomplishment… but overall they were excited by their performance and how well they did.”

Elder hopes to hire Houchin again and she knows that the bonding experience nationals afforded the team will help them out next year.