WEST POINT, GA: Point University sophomore Kirsten Burks (Stockbridge, GA) has been named to the 2018 NAIA Competitive Cheerleading All-America team, the first Point cheerleading student-athlete to receive the honor. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced the selections, Tuesday, Feb. 27, from its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
Coached by Lara Beth Griffin (Fourth season), Point placed seventh among 14 schools competing in the NAIA Southeast Regional National Qualifier at Baker University, in Baldwin City, Kan., Friday, Feb. 23. Burks has been a member of Point's cheerleading squad for two seasons.
"Kirsten is the epitome of an All-American, and I couldn't be more proud of her accomplishments and who she is as a person," commented Coach Griffin. "She gives 100 percent to this team and to Point University. She is so deserving of this achievement, and I am so thrilled and honored to have her as a part of the Skyhawks cheerleading program."
The NAIA Competitive Cheer All-America list includes 22 All-Americans and five honorable mention selections. The NAIA also announced its Competitive Dance All-Americans. The 2018 season marks the second year the sport will conduct an NAIA National Championship. The NAIA is the only collegiate athletics association to offer a national championship in these two sports. Competitive Cheer and Dance was the first to earn national championship status within the NAIA in a span of 22 years.
To achieve NAIA All-America or honorable mention status, student-athletes participate in a try-out. Officials judge the student-athletes during the try-out and All-Americans are determined by the judges' scores. The Competitive Cheer and Dance Coaches' Association officers then confirm the list of scores and athletes.
Overall, 18 different NAIA institutions – seven in Competitive Cheer, eight in Competitive Dance, and three in both Cheer and Dance – earned All-America status. Oklahoma City University led all institutions with nine combined All-America individual honors, and St. Ambrose University (Iowa) had six. Midland University (Neb.) and Aquinas University (Mich.) brought home five All-America awards.
The 2018 NAIA National Championships for both Cheer and Dance will be hosted by Oklahoma City University at the Abe Lemons Arena, March 9-10.