LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech’s coed cheer team will head to the NCA college national competition in Dayton, Florida this Friday. Although they only complete their two-and-a-half-minute routine twice, they say a lot more goes into it.

Bruce Bills, head coach of both all-girl and co-ed teams, said this is the time his athletes get to shine, versus on the sidelines at football and basketball games.

“What you’re seeing here for nationals is the most elite skills that you can do in cheerleading, so it takes a lot of time to fine-tune and get those skills ready for this,” Bills said.

Bills said they begin preparing their routine in August and break it down to work on in pieces.

“We set our choreography, get the routine practice that works all the different skill sections, and then now we’re just kind of fine-tuning and running it, getting the reps of the, um, just getting the conditioning of doing the routine as well,” Bills said.

Seniors Sara Gaspard and Matthew Stephenson have been competing together for years and said it’s been a hard road preparing for their last run at a national championship.

“We’ve had lots, lots of injuries this year, so like every practice, it’s something one step forward and three steps backward, so we’re just trying to keep those steps forward,” Gaspard said.

“We put so much into this because we love it so much, everyone who does this is very, very, very passionate, otherwise we wouldn’t be up at 6:00 a.m. practicing,” Stephenson said.

With the big competition days away, Bills said nerves are normal, but they are all a part of the process.

“There’s always nerves, but it’s good nerves,” Bills said. “It’s a good excitement of getting ready for the routine, I trust this routine, it’s a fun routine, it’s a hard routine, we’ve got amazing athletes that are gonna do great for tech.”

The team is holding a showcase to view their full routine Thursday, March 30 at the United Supermarkets Arena. The showcase starts at 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.