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Daniels, GSU claim national championship
0427 GSU cheer national champs
The Georgia Southern University all-girls cheerleading squad celebrates its NCA national championship at Daytona Beach, Fla. Rincons Katherine Daniels is a member of the squad. - photo by Photo provided

STATESBORO—Georgia Southern University’s latest national championship squad has an Effingham County connection.

Katherine Daniels of Rincon helped GSU’s all-girl cheer team bring home its second straight national title and third overall, with a first-place finish in the NCA National Championships in Daytona, Fla.

"I am very proud of our spirit program," said Georgia Southern cheerleading coach Barry Munkasy. "All represented their university in an exemplary manner. They worked hard all year supporting Georgia Southern football and men’s and women’s basketball, and then went down to Daytona and brought home another national championship."

The Georgia Southern all-girl cheer team overcame low scores on the first day to beat out competitors that included Clemson University, North Carolina State and the University of Georgia.

"We overcame a lot of adversity this past year including several injuries and setbacks, even up until competition day," said team captain Rachel Miller. "Our team stepped up and took on positions unfamiliar to them for the sake of the team. After our final performance, we each felt as though we left it all on the mat. We weren’t sure of the outcome going into finals in seventh place, but couldn’t have performed the routine any better. The routine was fun and ultimately unforgettable.

"Back-to-back national championships were a perfect ending to an amazing year for the program. Our hard work and dedication paid off."

The all-girl team also competed in the emerging NCAA sport of stunt and finished ranked fourth in the nation to the University of Louisville, Oklahoma State University and the University of South Carolina.

Georgia Southern University’s mascot, GUS, took third place in the NCA National Championships mascot competition, the best finish ever for a Georgia Southern mascot. The coed cheer team placed sixth overall.