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The UAAP Cheerdance: A phenomenon in college sports

by Ron Poblete

THE UAAP Cheerdance competition is probably the most exciting collegiate sports event in the country. In 2015, 25,388 people paid to watch the annual event at the Mall of Asia Arena, which is the most attended in the history of college sports. 

The competition started in 1994, hosted by National University. However, from 1994 to 2012 only three teams managed to bag the title for best school. It was the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe  from 1994 to 1996 before a one year suspension of the event occurred in 1997. Adamson was supposed to host that year. 

When the cheerdance competition resumed in 1998, the FEU cheering squad took top prize. The UP Pep Squad would then dominate for three straight years from 1999-2001. During the 2000 season, the venue moved from the Cuneta Astrodome to the Araneta Coliseum. 

What were considered the golden years of the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe happened from 2002 to 2006. The team was undefeated for 5 straight years. Its streak was only broken in 2007 by the UP Pep squad, who went on to win the title back to back until 2008. 

FEU then broke the UP-UST cycle of domination for the second time in 2009, but that would turn out to be a temporary reprieve as UP took back the crown for another 3 straight years from 2010-2012.

UP and UST are the only two schools to have stepped on the podium a combined 15 years. 

Then starting 2013, the first ever host of the competition, the NU Pep Squad, took home the top prize six times in eight years. This broke the dominance of UP and UST.  Only Adamson for the first time won it in 2017 and FEU in 2021. The competition stopped during the pandemic in 2020.

Ateneo, La Salle and UE are the only schools to not have won the title.

There have been controversies in this competition, such as in 2015, which happened to be the most attended year.

It was the year the NU Pep Squad won for the first time and went on to dominate the succeeding contests. UP filed a protest against the results of the judging because NU made notable mistakes, and yet still won. NU would then justify it by the degree of difficulty of their performance. UP did not compete the following year.

Adamson will host the next event this afternoon at the Mall Of Asia Arena.

Photo credit: UAAP Facebook



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