This year marks the 40th anniversary of the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship. Over the years, thousands of high school and junior high teams have made their way to Orlando, Florida to showcase their skills and traditions on stage with the hopes of taking home a set of the coveted white satin jackets.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the most prestigious event in high school cheer, here are seven things you may not know about the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship!
1. The First Championship Was At SeaWorld
In 1995 the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship outgrew its original location at SeaWorld and found a new home at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
2. There Was Only One National Champion In 1980
The first UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship took place in 1980 with less than 20 teams. There was only one division and Ridgeway High School from Memphis, Tennessee took home the top spot!
3. The Competition Has Grown To 950 Teams In 2020
As the years went on, the competition grew! In 2020, 950 teams will take the mat in Orlando, Florida. That's 19,848 spirited athletes and 3,173 passionate coaches dreaming of white satin jackets!
4. Game Day Was Introduced In 2014
In 2014, UCA introduced the Game Day division to the National High School Cheerleading Championship, showcasing elements that cheerleaders perform on the sidelines every week to support the school and community. Now there are nearly 500 teams competing in the Game Day divisions!
5. In 1986, Coed Teams Began Competing At The Championship
In 1986, the Coed division was added to the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship. Christian Brothers High School from Memphis, Tennessee was the first Coed National Champions!
6. 34 States and 9 Countries Are Represented At NHSCC
Who says cheerleading isn't the world's favorite past time? 34 states and 9 countries are represented at the 2020 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.
7. The White Satin Jacket Was Introduced In The Early '80s
In the early '80s, UCA decided that along with medals, the national champions would receive white satin jackets to honor their big win. The white satin jacket is now one of the most iconic and coveted items in cheerleading.
Fun Fact: One time, UCA contemplated changing the jacket to a leather style but cheer fans were adamant about keeping the traditional white satin jacket forever!
Visit the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship event hub to check out all the action from the 40th anniversary of this prestigious event!