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Xavier University of Louisiana is a 2024 national champ in cheer and triple jump

XULA Gold Rush cheer is national champs for the second time in three years and Seth Alexander, a senior from Arnaudville, has gone back-to-back.

(Marlon Roundtree/Jake Paige)

Xavier University of Louisiana’s cheer team is riding high once again, having won the NCA national championship in the advanced large coed division on April 13 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

It is the second national championship for the Catholic HBCU, which previously won the top trophy at the NAIA Nationals in 2022—the first in any NAIA sport for XULA and the first in cheer for a historically Black college or university.

“What a wonderful way to end our season,” head coach Glenn Caston said following this year’s triumph. 

“The resilience and determination that this team has shown is unmatched. This team will never be assembled again, yet it will motivate all future XULA cheerleaders to keep striving for excellence.”

The team competed at the National Cheerleaders Association-sponsored competition, facing fellow NAIA schools from around the country. The Gold took a second-place score of 22.225 into the final round, where they finished with a tally of 91.3375—edging the Westcliff University Warriors for victory.

The win concluded a 54-2-1 season, which featured a second-place finish at the 2024 NAIA Nationals in late March. Caston has coached the time in all five of its years as a varsity sport, and previously won seven national championships as a high school coach in New Orleans.

The cheer team title adds to a stellar spring stretch for XULA athletics, which saw senior Seth Alexander win his second-straight individual gold medal in the triple jump at the NAIA Men’s Championship. His victory last year at the outdoor meet was the first-ever for XULA in track and field. 

His winning jump this year, completed indoors on March 2 at the national meet in South Dakota, came in at 5.42 meters (50’, 7 ¼”) and helped the Gold Rush team achieve their highest finish in meet history Alexander was thereafter named the Sugar Bowl's Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month—the first for XULA since 2020 and the seventh overall.

Alexander, a native of Arnaudville, Louisiana, studies pharmacy at XULA and plans to enter the field as one of the school’s outsize number of Black alumni who become medical professionals.

“As Xavier approaches its centennial milestone, I am inspired by the opportunity to etch my name in its storied history. This experience has reinforced my belief in the transformative power of discipline and resilience, essential qualities in the pursuit of personal excellence and success,” he told BCM.

“Balancing my academic pursuits, alongside my passion for track and field has been a testament to the favor and guidance of God, whose wisdom has been my constant companion.”

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger.

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