By: Amber Spradley | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 19, 2020
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) – After a virtual tryout process, the new Valdosta State University Blazers cheerleading team for the upcoming 2020-2021 season will be announced by the end of the week, according to head coach Cody Hudson.
Their 2019-2020 season was cut short, right before their “end-goal” competition in April. However, veteran cheerleader Courtney Sullivan still has plenty of pep.
"Even though we had this whole pandemic, it was still a great year,” she said. “And it was still one of my favorite years that I will always, always remember."
The season began last fall, and the team prepared since then for their annual competition, hoping to beat last year's second place finish.
"We really were coming back with that, you know, determination to win again. And it kinda just came everything to a halt,” Coach Hudson said.
Now, it’s time to recruit, and she had to get creative. She decided to host tryouts virtually through an app called Band.
She says she turned out to enjoy the process, saying she has more time to pick her team because the process usually happens the day of.
"This kind of gives me some time, you know, to ponder on it and really see what athletes can be in our program,” she said.
The athletes were provided a list of things to record themselves doing like cheers, jumps and tumbling sequences. Those submissions were due on Sunday, May 17.
Hudson says she'll continue evaluating candidates throughout the week and announce her new team either Thursday or Friday.
"We make lots of friendships. We make lots of long-lasting relationships with these people, and that's the main important thing about college cheer," Sullivan said.
They saw about the same turnout this year as any other year, with about 40 people trying out.
Hudson says, though, male cheerleaders are expressing interest this year for the first time in years and hints at a possible co-ed team for 2020.
"When I realized that this whole pandemic was starting out and Nationals was no longer a thing, I took it by the horns and just said, 'Next year's gonna be great.' It's gonna be vengeance. We're gonna, we're gonna kill it,” Sullivan said.
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