The Kentucky cheerleading team's bid for its 20th national championship fell just short Sunday night. The Wildcats were named runners-up to 2013 UCA Champions University of Memphis.
In 2012, head coach Jomo Thompson and Kentucky had returned the title home to Lexington after Alabama defeated them in 2011. Sunday night in Orlando, Fla., UK fell just shy of repeating as national champions, but a missed stunt, according to the official twitter account of the UCA, likely made the difference in the end.
"It is just unfortunate," said Thompson. "It's just one of those things that happen. Just disappointed, but I'm very proud of our effort. I thought we executed well."
Kentucky finished ahead of Alabama, Central Florida and Mississippi who rounded out the top five.
Head coach Dawn Walters and the UK dance team were also in Orlando this weekend competing in the Pom and Hip-Hop dance events.
UK had a solid performance Sunday, earning an eighth-place finish in the Pom competition. The dancers add to that performance with a sixth-place finish in the Hip Hop division, an improvement from an eighth-place finish in 2012.
"The biggest thing I think was that so many people complimented us and were just like, 'Wow, you guys were awesome,' " said Walters. "It was great to hear other great teams talk about us and notice us."
The battle in the Pom division was close as eighth-place UK was just one full point out of fifth place with little separation in between. Kentucky was the lone Southeastern Conference representative in the final eight in the Pom event.
In the Hip-hop performance, UK had to overcome some adversity when it had to turn to an alternate dancer right before the competition with one of the dancers pulling out during warm-ups. Kentucky still managed to put on a memorable performance, pulling off maneuvers that only a few teams attempted on the night.
UK Athletics congratulates both teams on their outstanding achievements this weekend.