The University of Utah has women’s gymnastics, which is unquestionably the top-performing sport for the Utes. The Red Rocks recently claimed third place at the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships.
For BYU followers, the question has recently been asked: What is the Cougars’ best sport? Football, basketball, volleyball, cross-country, track and field, and women’s soccer have all been above average, even national contenders, recently.
In some circles, dance, drill team and cheerleading might not be considered bonafide NCAA-sponsored sports, but BYU’s Cougarettes — the Cougars’ dance team, as it were — win more national titles than any other endeavor in Provo.
The Cougarettes recently won both the Division 1A Hip Hop and Jazz national championships at the 2022 NDA Collegiate Cheer & Dance Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“Last year’s nationals just felt a little lackluster, because for those families that were able to travel, they stood behind essentially glass walls. There was no contact. You didn’t feel like you had a life audience. It almost felt lonely. It was just a very strange experience.” — BYU Cougarettes coach Stacy Bills.
They have now won 22 national championships since 1997. No other “team” on campus in Provo can boast anything close to that.
BYU won the hip-hop crown with a score of 98.426 to beat Louisville (96.428), Boise State and others. In the jazz category, it scored 6.97 points to finish ahead of West Virginia, South Carolina-Columbia, Iowa State and others.
The Cougarettes’ hip-hop score was the highest of the competition, which also includes pompom, team performance and spirit rally categories.
Cougarettes coach Stacy Bills said this year’s performance was especially gratifying because the past two years COVID-19 restrictions dampened the experience at nationals.
“Last year’s nationals just felt a little lackluster, because for those families that were able to travel, they stood behind essentially glass walls. There was no contact. You didn’t feel like you had a live audience. It almost felt lonely. It was just a very strange experience,” Bills told BYUCougars.com.
Bills says that taking second place in Jazz last year, instead of first, fired up the Cougarettes.
“So we came back with a vengeance,” she said. “… It was a real nationals with just thousands of people everywhere, and then to be able to win both Jazz and Hip Hop, it just made it so awesome.”
After 30-year Cougarettes leader Jodi Maxfield retired two years ago, some thought the Cougarettes might slip a bit. But Bills and Morgan St. Pierre have them back on top.
Senior Rachel Hansen appeared on BYU’s Cougar Sports Nation show last week and called the championships an honor.
“It is honestly humbling when we go to a competition like this and eyes kind of turn when they see the Cougarettes are up next,” Hansen said.