Formerly called as Crusader Cheerforce, the Xavier University Crusader Cheer All-Stars (XUCCAS) won the championship title in this year’s T’nalak festival Cheerdance Competition on July 14 at Koronadal City, South Cotabato. Through Student Activities and Leadership Development (SACDEV) Head Ritchel Petalcurin’s efforts to revive the cheer dance after its disbandment in 2010, the squad has found its footing back under the guidance of their coaches Jerah Ebao and Arvin Bantigue.

After XU has been invited to join the cheer dance competition in the T’nalak festival in South Cotabato, Petalcurin decided to tap the cheerdance champions of last year’s XU Intramurals, the College of Computer Studies’ iWizards, to represent the school alongside some members of New Oro Love Allstars, a non-profit cheerleading organization in Cagayan de Oro that provides avenues for all CDO cheerleaders to practice their craft and to participate in different competitions.

Despite of XU’s budget constraints, XUCCAS was able to gather funds to compete in Koronadal. “Bringing back a recognized squad in the University; that’s the vision,” said Petalcurin, who saw that the squad was an investment rather than an unnecessary expense. XUCCAS coach Ebao assisted in the revival of the squad, as he saw XU’s full support for the team. “I hope XU would carry on and would once again build a solid varsity squad.”

For this year’s festival, the XUCCAS centered their routines around the Pinikpikan mix made by XUCCAS coach Ebao. Pinikpikan is a Philippine ethnic alternative band that is famous for their original songs. “The mix was a tribute to them and to the dying ethnic alternative music industry,” expressed XUCCAS coach Ebao.

XUCCAS was closely followed by Madayaw Cheer Revolution Cheetas from Davao and Taguluan Community College Tigers Pep Squad, respectively the first and second runner-ups.

T’nalak Festival in South Cotabato is held every July in celebration of the region’s foundation day.

Words by Winona Serra