TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The Tyler Junior College Apache Cheerleading team were celebrated Sunday afternoon as former teammates, alumni and staff came together to support their journey to Daytona.

The showcase also hosted cheer teams from neighboring East Texas universities, University of Texas at Tyler and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

“I’ve been to a couple of competitive cheer competitions in Florida, but I’ve never been to Daytona itself,” said freshman student, Katelyn Hill.

With nationals only a couple of days away, the athletes performed their 2 minutes and 15-second routine they have been preparing for since October.

“We have a toe-touch like a single toe-touch and then a series of jumps after that and that’s really my favorite part! It’s crazy! It takes a lot of skill, synchronization, and timing to get that right,” said TJC Head Cheer Coach Tammy Rose.

This is not the first time TJC has set foot on the NCA college national stage in Daytona Beach, Florida. This year, they hope to gain recognition for their cheer program as it serves as a recruitment tool for high school students.

“Everything about this program is so rewarding. TJC as a whole, like you can just walk down the street and meet new people every day and especially A.C.U.F. No matter where you’re at in Tyler, it’s always a family,” shared TJC Assistant Cheer Coach, Cameron Thomas. The team goes through two hour practices each day with conditioning training on the weekends.

“The goal is to get the first place trophy, the banner, the recognition and getting the ring. Cheer is not recognized as a formal sport by the NCAA and so, therefore, this is what we live for because we don’t get that other recognition somewhere else,” said Rose.

Alumni who came to watch the final performance say the leadership and unwavering support at TJC are what helped in making the Apache cheer team successful.

“I think this team has a lot of great potential and talent and I’m super excited for them to take on Daytona. I think they have a great opportunity and a great chance at winning,” said TJC alumni Isabella Terranova.

If you would like to support the TJC Cheer team in making their way to the Daytona stage, you can find their donation page here.