By Alex Hull
Photo taken by Jomo Thompson
Lexington, KY – Rings for the Kentucky Cheerleader’s 20th national championship have arrived and the program makes plans for No. 21.
The University of Kentucky Cheerleading team has won an amazing 20 National Championships in the last 30 years. With the success of the program has come recognition from most of the students and alumni at the university. Few other schools have such high profile ambassadors for their school and such high scholarships for their cheerleaders.
Monday, the national championship rings arrived at coach Jomo Thompson’s office. Thompson has won 12 rings personally. The only person who has all 20 rings is adviser T. Lynn Williamson who has been the program’s adviser since competition began in the 80s.
The senior cheerleaders on the team each year get to choose the design of the rings. They chose to include the phrase “Whatever it takes” on the side of the ring, which was the team’s motto for the season.
“I really like the rings. I think they did a good job on the twentieth ring especially because it’s such a big milestone,” said Jordan Ellison a third year cheerleader. When asked about the chances of a 21st title he said, “I think the chances are really really good. From the talent at tryouts I’d say it will be pretty easy to go down there (Orlando) and win another one.”
Saying that winning a national championship will be “easy” is certainly a bold statement but it is one that can be afforded when a team already has 20 under its belt.
Winning a national championship is an experience that few on campus have been a part of aside from the players of the university’s renowned basketball program.
“It was surreal almost; something that you go to bed dreaming about and when you get older you find out what your reaction will be,” said Caleb Bell a third-year cheerleader.
Despite their success, the cheerleaders are not a household name like the basketball players for many reasons. One reason being that the basketball team is a large source of revenue for the university.
“Oh, that’s controversial. Ya, I think we do because were not a big money-maker for the school,” said Bell when asked if he thinks the cheerleaders get the recognition they deserve.