Dance cheer band in Daytona
Bryant takes second in national spirit competition
Apr 17, 2024, by Jennifer Spira
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The sun — and spotlight — shone bright on Bryant University’s dance, cheer, and athletics band members last week in Florida, as the teams took second place in a National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Association competition, held April 11 to 13 in Daytona. 

The combined Bryant squad placed second behind Utah Valley University in a category known as Game Day Division 1. The classification provides an opportunity for Division 1 dance and cheer teams to join with their pep band and mascot in a fuller presentation, to showcase their ability to promote school spirit and excitement in support of their athletics teams. 

Nearly 40 students — plus beloved mascot Tupper — began prep this past October for the national stage. Trip funding was provided by multiple sources, including Athletics and Student Affairs, as well as grass-roots fundraising. The spirit crew are fixtures of many Bulldogs events, including football and basketball games and, this year, some volleyball and soccer matches. 

Bryant’s Vice President of Athletics and Recreation Bill Smith congratulated the dance, cheer, and athletics band members for their outstanding performance at the championships in Daytona.

“Our spirit teams not only continue to represent Bryant on a national stage against some of the best teams in the country, but they have proven to be among the very best, with several top finishes including a national title a few years ago,” Smith said. He also lauded Coach Toni Gravel, Assistant Coaches Courtney La Russo ’16 and Nicole Matarese ’18, Athletic Band Director Matt Visconti, and supervisor Nick Schleicher for a tremendous season.

“These students and coaches are all an integral part of our game-day atmosphere,” he said, “and they represent what being a Bulldog is all about.”

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