The Tech mascot, Awesome Eagle, has won this year’s No. 1 spot in the video tryouts for the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s national competition held Jan. 18-20 in Orlando, Fla.
Awesome has auditioned four straight years at the UCA Nationals, but this is only his second year to qualify.
To qualify for nationals, the mascots in Awesome’s division must place in the top five in the video tryouts. Awesome is the only mascot in his division to receive a paid bid.
“We have been sending videos for the past four years,” Robin Burroughs, spirit squads coordinator, said via email. “The first time we finished 12th. The second time we finished ninth. The third time we got our first invitation to nationals because we placed third overall. This year we placed first overall in our division, giving us the only fully paid spot for a mascot to attend.”
There were sixteen mascots in Awesome’s division to submit a video tryout, including Grandpappy Eagle, who placed ninth in his first attempt to qualify.
“The tryout is the video that we submit ahead of time which counts for 50 percent of their nationals points and also qualifies them for the competition,” Burroughs said. “At the competition the skit they perform counts for the other half of their overall score.”
Jordan Allen, senior member of Tech’s spirit squad, said, “Last year was the first time a mascot from Tech, even when the University was called Dixie College, has made it to nationals.”
Allen said the University of Delaware’s “YoUDee” is Awesome’s biggest competition. YoUDee won first place at last year’s nationals and second place in this year’s video tryout.
The mascots, as well as the cheer and dance teams, will be travelling to Disney World in January to compete against other universities across the country.
“The mascot program at Tech has come along and grown so much in the past four years, and I hope it continues to do so,” Allen said.