ON a day not lacking in pep, pompoms and team spirit, the School of the Holy Spirit- Quezon City emerged as the biggest winner at the start of the National Cheer and Dance Championships on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Sirens retained their High School All Cheer Division crown for its fourth title in six years while also taking first place in the All Girl High School Hiphop - the two most coveted titles in the day-long competition.
SHS-QC coach Randell San Gregorio praised his teams for embracing the discipline and goals he preached - qualities he felt set them apart from the rest of the competition.
“It’s all about hard work, nothing beats hard work,” said Gregorio after the winners were announced.
It was a bittersweet victory for San Gregorio as defending champion Sayawatha team of Miriam College — which he also coaches — lost their high school dance trophy to SHS-QC. Another of San Gregorio’s teams, College of St. Benilde, reclaimed the College All Girl Cheer trophy.
In the Juniors Division, Poveda bettered its second place finish in 2014 by finishing on top.
NCC director Paula de la Llana-Nunag said the tournament’s 10th year drew the most number of competitors, with 78 teams competing in Day One with a further 50 more battling it out in Day Two - all culled from five regional qualifiers.
One reason for the rise of participants is the NCC’s decision to open several categories of Hiphop in the dance field.
The team that travelled the farthest, Notre Dame Dadiangas University of General Santos City, once more took home the College Co Ed Hiphop plum.
Assumption College-Makati took the College All Girl Hiphop and High School All Girl Jazz trophies and finished third in the All Girl High School Hiphop.
Jewel Dancel of Antonio Regidor Elementary School also established a record of 13 minutes and 24 seconds for the longest-held scorpion.
St Louis University won in College All Girl Jazz and took second place in All Girl Hiphop and was third in College Coed Hiphop.
St. Paul College-Pasig Junior Terpsichore completed a threepeat as national champions for Junior All Girl Jazz.
La Salle-Greenhills bagged first place in Mixed High School Hiphop that drew nine teams.
The National University Pep Squad came out first in the All Girl Open Group Stunts, followed by St Benilde and Ateneo.
Day Two, featuring mixed college and elite teams, is on Sunday.