Morris receives KCAC cheer coach award

Tabor College photo<p>Cheer coach Tony Morris (far right) with his current team: standing (from left) Roxanne Aquero, Dakota Kiehl, Jenna Thayer, Alyssa Freeman, Jessica Beasterfeld, Ashlee Cole, Cody Martin; kneeling, Christina Franco, Colton Olsen and Chloe Stevenson.Head Cheer Coach Tony Morris was named Kansas Collegiate Athletic Confer?ence Cheer Coach of the Year at the KCAC Cheer and Dance Competition hosted by Kansas Wesleyan Univer?sity Saturday.

The award is based on the nominations of other head cheer coaches in the conference.

The recognition came as a shock to Morris.

?I truly did not think I would be awarded this honor,? he said. ?I honestly thought a coach with a larger team would have received this.

?We are the only cheer program who traveled to every KCAC school game during the football and basketball season. I am grateful and hope that our efforts and growth will be an encouragement to the sport.?

During the competition, Morris coached the 10-member cheer team to a first place in group stunt routine and fourth place in overall team performance.

?I have an exceptional team,? Morris said. ?They hit everything clean in their performance on Saturday. No falls, no drops.

?From a coach?s perspective, I couldn?t have asked them to do a better performance than what they gave on Saturday. I am so proud of them.?

Morris said cheer is dudged very subjectively and that his team understood they had one opportunity to perform their best.

?There are no timeouts, no subbing other athletes in,? he said. ?We are given two minutes and 15 seconds to complete our routine. So everything they?ve been working on since July 28 of last summer to that day was it. This is what they have prepared for.?

In the past five years, competitive cheer has been an emerging sport recognized by the National Association of Intercolle?giate Athletics.

Morris said it is moving closer to be recognized as a sport in Kansas.

?I believe the growth of cheer, and specifically our program at Tabor, has enhanced game-day spirit and shown support to our other competing sports teams,? he said.

?As the sport of cheer develops at Tabor, we will be participating in more competitions, both in and out of state.?

Next year the team will travel to Wisconsin for the College Cheer Camp at the end of July and will complete six times. The team will continue to travel to each football and basketball KCAC game while building on the game-day traditions established this year.

This week, Morris and his team are scheduled to travel with the men?s basketball team to Branson, Mo., where the Bluejays are playing in the NAIA Division II National Basketball Tournament. The first game will be 5:45 Thursday.

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