June 3, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
|Dani Keathley and Andrea Dearing competed with the All-Girl Cheer squad in California earlier this year where they were nominated and selected for "All American" stunt teams. Dearing was named to the honorable mention team. —Submitted photo|
Sam Houston State University freshman Dani Keathley has been named an “All American” for the cheerleading stunt season by the College STUNT Association, under the leadership of USA Cheer.
Keathley, an interdisciplinary studies major from Spring, was one of 20 young women from across the country to be selected for the honor, given for the first time this year by the association.
Sophomore geology major Andrea Dearing, from Baytown, was named to the All-American Honorable Mention Team.
“We are very proud of both Dani and Andrea,” said Brian McColpin, SHSU spirit programs coordinator. “They’re both really talented. As a freshman, Dani was a real big recruit. Andrea is a great leader. She’s going to be the captain for the next year.
“This is also big for Sam because it’s giving some recognition to the All-Girl Cheer program and is showing how successful they have been,” he said. “They’ve been steadily been coming up over the years.”
Keathley (above) and Dearing
A new competitive team sport that has derived from traditional cheerleading, stunt removes the crowd-leading and focuses on the technical and athletic components of cheer, which include the partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, jumps and tumbling skills, according to the College STUNT Association.
Stunt has been designed with the goal of being considered for NCAA “Emerging Sport” status and to ultimately satisfy Title IX’s requirements for intercollegiate sport, according to Bill Seely, executive director of USA Cheer.
“Their being named All American is a huge deal because right now the company that runs cheer competitions is trying to get the NCAA to pick up cheerleading as an athletic sport,” McColpin said. “In 2011-12, they’re going to be an emerging athletic sport, so Dani and Andrea will be in NCAA athletic history forever.”
All Americans were chosen from all-girl cheerleading squads from across the country by a committee of coaches from various regions along with two STUNT officials.
Coaches from the 22 teams that participated in the first season of stunt were invited to nominate two athletes to be All Americans. Coaches were not allowed to vote for members of their own squads.
“The whole team competed (at the end of the season) in California. Those were the two who stood out among all the girls at Sam Houston and were selected as All American at that time,” McColpin said. “You had to have a majority vote to get the All-American honor.”
Nominees were required to “exhibit superior skills and techniques as well as good game sense and knowledge of stunt, and be in good academic standing,” as well as “to have participated in at least half of the games or tournaments for at least 50 percent of the routine,” according to the association.
“We were extremely impressed with the athleticism of these first ever STUNT All Americans,” Seely said. “They played a major role in the success of their teams and presented our new sport with dignity and grace.”
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