WBU cheerleaders take home first place

PLAINVIEW - Wayland Baptist University's cheerleading squad took months of practice and a dynamic stunting routine to San Antonio recently for the Cheerleaders of America's Fiesta Open Cheer and Dance Championship.

They brought home gold.

The 15-member squad earned a first place in the collegiate open division for a 2 ½ minute routine featuring choreographed dance moves, acrobatic stunts and a variety of pyramids.

This year marked the first for the cheerleaders to be housed under Wayland's athletics department, and the team is coached by Leah Nichols, a 2003 Wayland graduate who has been involved in cheer and dance for many years.

The biggest squad in many years for the university, the group has been able to learn and perform more group stunts and increase their difficulty due to their numbers, according to Nichols.

The cheerleading squad includes Morgan Justus of Crosbyton, Lissa Rusten of Borger, Kristol Hill of El Paso, Tabitha Harmonson of Abernathy, Lauren Black of Claude, Laci Rousseau of Tulia, Christie Ward of Hale Center, Teri Mayfield of Wichita Falls, Richard Varnon of Spearman, Jacob Bassing of Farmington, N.M., Billy Sherman of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Dustin Stephens of Dallas, Chris Cox of Canadian, Shawn Anglin of Borger, and Kaury Edwards of Tulia.