PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast's cheer squad heads to its first-ever national championship Thursday after one last performance for its fans.
The team invites the public to watch it perform its competition routine in the Weathers/Wentzell Center at 6:30 p.m. Thursday before hitting the road for Orlando, Fla., and the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship.
"We're excited. We're ready," Gulf Coast coach Christy Bowman said. "Our theme has been #MakingHistory. We've had a lot of setbacks, but we've pulled through."
The team is scheduled to perform in the semifinals Saturday at 12:21 Eastern time. There are 11 squads in the Small Co-ed Division II category, with seven advancing to the finals later in the day. Gulf Coast already received a perfect 15 points for a community and campus involvement video submitted before the championship.
The competition will be streamed at http://tv.varsity.com/. A paid subscription is required.
Gulf Coast will leave immediately following the Perkinston performance. The competition is at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the team will visit Disney parks while they are in town. There will be a team dinner, and a Sunday night block party at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The team is competing for the first time, having moved into the athletic department this year. Bowman and assistant coach Karlee Nobles have put the squad through two-a-day practices the last two weeks.
"They've worked hard," Bowman said. "It's a tremendous difference from when we started two weeks ago to last night and ran it completely through. It's been a huge journey, a long journey, but it's coming together."
More information: https://uca.varsity.com/College/College-Nationals
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.