Animo Squad finishes 2nd in UAAP Cheerdance
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That was the last time that the DLSU Animo Squad figured in a podium finish at the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, landing at the second spot in 1998 when it was still known as the DLSU Pep Squad.
The squad in the following years played second fiddle to the cheering squads of other schools. Since their string of second and third place finishes during the late 1990s, the squad has never placed higher than fifth in the annual competition.
But slowly, the squad labored to erase the stigma of their dismal finishes. The old DLSU Pep Squad was retired in favor of a moniker that would embody what the squad brings whenever they perform during halftime or when they take center stage during the cheerdance competition: The Animo Squad.
Eventually, the squad was able to make its presence felt and establish itself as a contender. Earlier this year, they bested schools from both the UAAP and the NCAA in the Fil-Oil Flying V Cheerdancing Competition.
The hiring of a new coach, Ruf Vandolph Rosario, who steered the University of Perpetual Help Cheering Squad to multiple championships in the NCAA, was also instrumental in transforming the squad.
Thirteen years later, before 20,842 fans who trooped to the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to witness the event, the Animo Squad would have another chance to finally break through the top three schools in the competition.
Armed with wooden shields, swords and the stern belief that their time had finally come, the Animo Squad performed a warrior-themed number that impressed the judges and was able to land them a second-place finish, thus ending a thirteen-year drought of not being able to finish at the top three.
Their first-runner up finish was also a perfect complement to the school’s centennial year as the squad also bagged the prize money worth P200,000 from Samsung, which is the primary sponsor for the event.
And in a display of discipline and courage that mirrored that of a warrior, a member of the Animo Squad, Aiana Lontok, dislocated her left shoulder during the squad’s routine but remained in character until they were able to gracefully finish their routine.
Their climb to the top had been slow and steady, but once they finally got there, it is safe to assume that the Animo Squad will do everything that they can to remain on top for years to come.
Cheerdance Competition Recap:
The UP Pep Squad, using a theme that was inspired by American pop-icon Madonna, from cone-shaped bras to the use of some of her most famous songs such as “Four Minutes,” “Material Girl” and “Like a Virgin,” was able to repeat as champions, while the FEU Cheering Squad, using a theme inspired by Bollywood, placed third.
The UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe finished fourth after a third place finish last year, while the Adamson Pep Squad finished fifth. The NU Pep Squad, Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion, and UE Pep Squad finished sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.
Another new feature of this year’s Cheerdancing Competition is the inclusion of the Group Stunts Competition, which is confined strictly to lifting and aerial stunts and allows only five members per school. The UP Pep Squad was also able to reign supreme in this event, while FEU and NU rounded out the top three after finishing second and third, respectively.
This year’s Samsung Stunner Award also went to the Diliman-based Squad as Nesza Salvador, a member of the UP Pep Squad, bested candidates from Ateneo, UST, and FEU.