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ORLANDO—The University of Colorado mascot, Chip, and CU Express Dance team both recently competed at the Universal Cheer and Dance Association national championships.  Chip took fourth place while the Express finished seventh in two different divisions.  

The CU Express placed in the top 10 for the second straight season in both the jazz and pom competitions and in the top 10 in some category for the fourth straight season.  This was the second year the Express has competed in both jazz and pom and overall the third straight season in pom.  

During the final warm up for the pom competition, one of the Express members injured her knee, tearing her ACL, MCL and meniscus.  A quick decision was made to put in an alternate, which moved two of the other girls to different positions in the formation.  

The team had about 20 minutes to change and perfect the new routine and still finished seventh.  For the jazz final, head dance coach Liz Kahl and choreographer Katie Fear decided to perform one dancer short and also finished seventh. 

“I have never been more proud of my girls,” Kahl said. “They stepped up to the challenge and prevailed.  Nobody watching would have guessed that they had just changed routines at the last minute.  The CU Express came closer in those moments than ever before, they came together and danced for each other and their injured teammate.”

Meanwhile at the UCA National Championships, CU mascot Chip brought home another top five performance, finishing fourth overall, the fourth straight top five finish for CU’s super mascot.  Chip won the mascot national championship in 2009 and ’10 and took third last year.  

Half of the performance is based on a video submittal earlier in the fall and half is the performance at nationals.  Chip was fourth after the video and remained in that position throughout.  

“The work that the Chip team puts into the national’s skit is hard to believe,” CU spirit squad coordinator Christopher Turner said. “The hard works and weeks of building props and practicing and fine tuning ideas paid off when he took the floor and performed a great skit.”

Chip performed his skit at the basketball game on January 5 and received a great reaction from the crowd.  

“After that performance, Chip continued to work hard up until the hours before the competition, fine tuning and making adjustments,” Turner said. “The skit went perfectly, the crowd was laughing and clapping throughout his performance and he received a great reaction afterwards.”

The CU Cheerleading squads, headed up by CU alumni Wendy Ayers and Julie Gillaspie with Cheer Central Suns, will take place in the National Cheer Association national championships April 11-15, 2012, in Daytona Beach, Fla.