Lionettes and cheer teams earn national titles


Photo by Mallary Vasquez

Junior Bella Castro (center) demonstrating her flexibility in the Lionettes jazz routine. The Lionette’s Jazz routine took first place at the 2022 National Championship.

Mallary Vasquez, Reporter

The Lindenwood cheer teams and the Lionettes competed in the NCAA National championships April 7-9, earning three national titles for five routines performed. 

The cheer team competed with three different teams. The Advanced Large Coed and Advanced Small Coed teams took first in their division while the Intermediate Coed team took third. 

The Lionettes took two routines to Daytona, with their jazz routine that placed first in finals and their hip hop routine placing second.

“On behalf of all the coaches we are proud of this program and what’s been built here, it’s a testament to our student-athletes and we couldn’t ask for a better group to work with,” cheer head coach Carrie Nichols said.

Nichols said that the titles earned this year marks 11 national championships for the Lindenwood cheer program. The Advanced Small Coed and Intermediate Coed teams came off of national titles from 2021 with the Large Coed team coming off of earning second place before this year’s competition.

“It’s a great feeling, it never gets old, and the hard part is because we won repeatedly over the last eight, nine years, anything less than first is definitely hard because all of the teams we’ve had have won,” Nichols said.

Nichols also said that coming home with two first-place rankings and one third-place ranking is remarkable and any program would do their best to achieve that success, but still felt that some athletes were disappointed despite their success.

”It is bittersweet because that third-place team won last year. It is hard because if they don’t win they don’t feel like a success when in fact they really still are a very successful and decorated team,” Nichols said.

Lionettes head coach Whitney Sterns said the Lionettes dance team earned their seventh national title during their time in Daytona when the team took first place for their Jazz routine.

“This has been the greatest season I have ever had as a coach. The genuine joy I have experienced throughout our nationals season made this nationals the most bitter sweet experience ever,” Sterns said. “I thank God every day for this group and the revival and reminder of my love for coaching but also so sad to see it come to an end and think about not seeing their faces interacting with their incredible and genuine personalities everyday.”

Sterns said she imposes rules on her dancers during the award ceremonies the teams take part in by having the team wait on their reactions. By doing this, she hopes to acknowledge and celebrate each team that competes during the time their names get called, but when the team was called, the dancers and coaches expressed their joy for their success.

“As our trophy and banner were brought to us the team didn’t even look at it but instead continued to hug each other and love on each other celebrating the work being worth it,” Sterns said

“That moment was so sweet as a coach because you pray the trophies mean nothing but the team means everything and in that moment as tears ran down my face my heart filled with joy not because they won but because the true love and joy they had being on that stage together and being able to do it with your best friend is greater than any title and any trophy,” Sterns said, but the big trophy and banner is a sweet cherry on top.”

Sterns said that the team is proud to do what they do and represent Lindenwood with and the Lionettes dance team with pride and respect. By staying true to who they are, they hope to continue to share their “Lionettes Love.”

Nichols said that the cheer teams have already been preparing for future seasons as they have already held in-person tryouts and are currently looking through video submissions with over 70 cheerleaders looking to be added to the team for next year. The program is also looking to compete with three or four routines along with a stunt group next year for the championships.