2023 NCA & NDA College National Championship

Can The BYU Cougarettes Do It Again?

Can The BYU Cougarettes Do It Again?

The BYU Cougarettes are set to return to Daytona Beach, FL to defend their Division IA Jazz and Hip Hop titles at the 2023 NCA & NDA College Nationals.

Apr 3, 2023 by Leanza Pieroni
Can The BYU Cougarettes Do It Again?

The Brigham Young University Cougarettes are set to return to Daytona Beach, Florida this week to defend their Jazz and Hip Hop titles at the 2023 NCA & NDA College National Championship.

The Cougarettes were formed back in 1946 and since they began competing in 1997, they've earned an incredible 22 national championship titles.

While the Utah Spirit Program might be known for its championship success, BYU's presence at the NDA College National Championship represents only a portion of their season as student-athletes.

The Cougarettes define themselves as athletes, artists, and competitors - and their season is broken up into three stages. They start their season supporting their football and basketball teams with performances on the sidelines, during halftime, and timeouts at all their sporting events.

In early February, they put their talent and artistry on display with up to 20 pieces performed at the "BYU Cougarettes in Concert" hosted at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, Utah.

They end their season as fierce competitors in Daytona Beach, Florida at the NCA & NDA College National Championship where they are the reigning Division IA Jazz and Hip Hop National Champions.

Winning one title at the championship is a feat, taking home two in one weekend is an accolade only a few teams have ever accomplished. In 2013, 2015, 2019, and 2022, the BYU Cougarettes made history by double titling in Jazz and Hip Hop.

"Like most teams, it starts with hard work and a dedication to the overall team to become successful, stay well-rounded, and keep the momentum up to win a single title at Nationals, let alone a double title at nationals," shared Co-Head Coach, Morgan St. Pierre. "We have tweaked our "recipe for success" over time to create the right kind of push towards Daytona - to re-ignite the team's drive and keep them fresh for the experience. These dancers are hungry for the titles, but above all, happy along the way, trying to soak up and enjoy every bit of prep for NDA College Nationals."

The 2022-2023 BYU Cougarettes dance team is comprised of 23 team members including eight seniors, three of which are 5th-year team members. The team has five new freshman athletes and 18 total returners. The Cougarettes are coached by Stacy Bills and Morgan St. Pierre. 

"Our team theme this year is "Lean In & Look Up" - motivating our dancers to lean in when it gets hard - don't back away from what pushes you because the strength you gain will make you stronger and never forget that God is with you, always." - Morgan St. Pierre, Co-Head Coach

This year, the Cougarettes are set to dance to Billy Joel's Piano Man for their Division IA Jazz number.

"They are even better than last year," shared Coach Morgan. "We have a Raiz skill in our routine and there are a lot of lifts and "moments" that nod to Billy Joel's classic song. Our motivation in this piece is "how can we be a force for good and inspire others as the Piano Man does. If you really listen to the lyrics - it can be a song of hope to help get you up from where you are and try to become more."

In their Division IA Hip Hop routine, BYU is ready to bring a whole new vibe to their performance.

"The Cougarettes will be in all white with some royal blue pop of color and will be competing some stylized movement that is totally new to their hip hop style arsenal," added Coach Stacy. "We have a team back handspring to plank at their very end of the piece which is pretty cool!"

The team's preparation for Daytona began last spring. The Cougarettes have an intense training log they turn in monthly that is done outside of practice. The coaches start looking for new tricks and lifts and tweak them and make them new and improved starting in the summer. The dancers practice team turns and jumps and are always looking to reinvent themselves in different ways.  

"Lastly, but possibly most importantly," added Coach Stacy. "These dancers are preparing mentally, physically, and spiritually for their experience - by having a devotional every 2 weeks where we speak openly about what inspires them to help their entire team stay spiritually minded so they are never alone in their progression."

When asked what their favorite part about the process of preparing for the championship is, Coach Morgan described the growth and leadership she sees in her athletes.

"Watching our team leaders step up and lovingly but assertively care for their team. The love between these women is beyond anything I have ever seen as a coach. They fight for each other and cheer for each other through each tough practice. They set aside frustration and lead with love. Makes me proud to coach them."

This Thursday the Cougarettes will make the trip from snowy Provo, Utah to soak up some sun and compete on stage in Daytona Beach, Florida at the 2023 NCA & NDA College National Championship. A year of preparation is behind them and it's time to find out if they have what it takes to defend their titles.

Tune into Varsity TV to watch BYU compete live at NDA and don't forget to watch Varsity TV's latest documentary "Holy Hip Hop" featuring the Cougarettes!

Holy Hip Hop (Trailer)