Two. Four. Six. Eight. Who do we appreciate? Well, the University of Mobile’s competitive cheer squad, that’s who!
During the inaugural Southern States Athletic Conference’s Cheer Championship, the Rams came home with the overall trophy. To make it even sweeter, this is the first time the school has fielded a squad.
Mobile finished with a score of 68.5. Loyola-New Orleans took second place (64.1), while Martin Methodist — which won the NAIA National Invitational in 2016 — finished third (51.3).
“We are very proud of our team and what they have accomplished,” said University of Mobile Associate Athletic Director Kris Nelson. “Coach [Kami] Whiteis has done a phenomenal job developing a competitive team and overcoming many hurdles that come with a first-year program.”
It was a quick turnaround for UM, which had lost a dual match with Loyola earlier in the week at Ms. Daphne’s Cheernastics facility in Satsuma.
“The routine we put on the floor Friday when we faced Loyola was not our best performance,” Whiteis said. “We made some small adjustments that made a big impact on the final result today. I could not be prouder of this team winning the first SSAC Cheer Championship.”
Several members of the UM team were recognized with awards including: Jacob Hildreth, All-Conference Team; Peyton Cooley, All-Conference Team and All-Academic Team; Joshua Schlehuber, All-Academic Team; Alexis Williams, All-Academic Team; and Mallory Patterson, Cheer Champions of Character.
“The hard work and dedication of the team is encouraging and is paying off,” Nelson said. “They have set a high standard for the future.”
The SSAC win earned the UM squad a berth in the NAIA Southwest Regional last Saturday hosted by Saint Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City University left with the automatic berth to the national finals. UM finished the regional in sixth place, while Loyola was seventh.
The NAIA is the only collegiate athletics association to offer a national trophy in this sport. Competitive cheer is the first activity to earn national championship status within the NAIA since women’s golf in 1995.
Get on your bikes and ride
The 13th annual Tour de LADR (Lower Alabama Doctors Ride) bike race is set for Saturday, March 4, at 7:30 a.m. at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear. Although the event is organized by the Medical Society of Mobile County, registration for the 21.4-mile ride to Pelican Point and back is open to the general public.
The MSMC said the event not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, but 100 percent of the $35 registration fee benefits Camp Rap-A-Hope — the local camp for children dealing with cancer. Camp Rap-A-Hope, which was founded by the spouses of two physicians in 1985, is the largest of its kind between New Orleans and Pensacola. For additional information, visit www.tourdeladr.com or call 251-476-9494.
• When Spring Hill College took a pair of victories over Auburn-Montgomery and Christian Brothers, it marked a milestone for head coach Alison Sellers-Cook. Now in her 12th year at the helm, she has recorded 300 career victories with the Badgers. SHC is off to an 11-4 start and is 3-0 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference after sweeping past Kentucky State.
• Katelyn Wilson has been named the SIAC Softball Player of the Week, while teammate Danielle Clark was selected as Pitcher of the Week. Wilson, a sophomore from Mobile, hit 454 with four runs scored, two doubles and one RBI as SHC won six straight games. Clark, a sophomore from Saraland, pitched a no-hitter versus the University of Mobile and got a win in relief against Auburn-Montgomery.
• The University of South Alabama’s Tuki Jacobs has vaulted up to No. 50 in the latest Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s Singles National Rankings. After starting the spring rated No. 91, the senior from Namibia is the highest-ranked Sun Belt Conference singles player.
His Jaguar teammate Juan Cruz Soria is also off to an excellent start. He has twice been named the SBC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week to start the season. They have helped USA get off to a 10-2 start.
• The tennis teams at the University of Mobile are off to strong starts this season. The women are ranked No. 16 in the nation with a 5-0 record. The men are at No. 19 with a 6-0 mark.
• When the Lady Jaguars defeated Appalachian State 54-41 recently, it marked their first conference at the Mitchell Center this year. Chyna Ellis made a major contribution as she became USA’s all-time leader in career blocks after recording a game-high and season-best six rejections. This gives her 212 for her career, passing the 210 blocks by LaSandra Jenkins from 1982-85.
• Michael Druhan was named SIAC Baseball Player of the Week, while teammate Hunter D’Armond was picked as Pitcher of the Week. Druhan, a senior from Mobile, hit .400 for the week with two home runs and five RBIs. D’Armond, a sophomore, picked up a win against Alabama-Huntsville in four hitless innings of relief. He allowed two walks and got three strikeouts.
• Three USA track and field athletes have been honored by the Sun Belt Conference. Matt Weinhold broke the school’s indoor shot put record with an effort of 16.84 meters. He also was ninth in the weight throw with a personal best mark of 16.11 meters. Katheho Dyoyi set a personal best in the mile in 4:10.17, which is sixth all-time at USA. Laura Labushaigne was third in the women’s 800-meter run in 2:15.00, is the fourth fastest in the SBC this season.
• USA’s Devin Brown has been named the Sun Belt’s Pitcher of the Week. The junior from Theodore has won the league honors eight times in her career. The preseason All-American has started with two complete-game shutouts and a save in 15.2 innings. She struck out 25 batters while allowing six hits and one walk.