The race for the Homecoming title intensified when Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) and Pi Kappa Phi (Pi Kapp) emerged as the winning duo of Homecoming Organized Cheer (O-Cheer) on Tuesday night, securing 115 points for their letters.
Their victory in the dance competition made them top contenders and put them head to head with the Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos (FEC) and United Black Students (UBS). The three groups have raked in the majority of the victories across all of the Homecoming events so far.
“We practiced four times a week for the past month and we are really happy to win it,” said Lauren Hutt, co-choreographer of ZTA-Pi Kapp O-Cheer. “Each dance takes us an hour to choreograph and there were five dances, but we try to make it fun and we had a great time.”
Aside from UBS in second place, Greek life continued their past success in the annual O-Cheer event. The Delta Gamma and Sigma Alpha Epsilon team took third place. In last year’s O-Cheer, the top three places all went to Greek teams.
For the event, 10 student organizations executed 10-minute performances on the UC Patio that incorporated a famous location and character of Miami assigned to them by the Homecoming Executive Committee.
“We wanted to incorporate the city of Miami and also give a campus vibe to it, so we picked spots where students always go to and we figured they would throw in an interesting story,” said Luis Mejia, co-chair of O-Cheer. “They were great, the skits and dances were fantastic.”
Set against a backdrop that each organization created to artistically represent their assigned Miami location and character, performances included a skit to a pre-recorded voiceover and had many dance numbers where the organizations had to incorporate the Homecoming theme, For My City.
“We were numb in the beginning because it was unreal that this was finally happening. We waited so long for this to come,” said Samantha Ruben, the other co-chair of O-Cheer. “The campus flair that each team incorporated was done very well.”
Audiences even had the chance to see a cultural Filipino dance, Tinikling, performed by the Council of International Students and Organizations, who displayed their international pride when they waved their flags high for the final dance.
The winners, ZTA-Pi Kapp, had Little Havana as their location and Steve Madden as their famous person. Victoria Boylan wrote a unique script that parodied the Dr. Seuss Christmas story, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
With all characters speaking in rhymes throughout the skit, the fictional Steve Madden kidnapped Sebastian in the hopes that Miami fans would lose their spirit. However, the fans kept cheering, bemusing Madden and making him realize the error of his ways. He returned the mascot back to the Canes, who forgave him and accepted him as an alum.
“We were lucky that we were paired with Pi Kappa Phi; they are a great fraternity. They had twice the amount of boys who wanted to do it than we could actually take, so they had to hold their own auditions,” said Sadie Bennison, who helped create five dances for her team. “They are the best fraternity by far that we have ever worked with and we get along well very easily.”
Securing a victory in O-Cheer, ZTA-Pi Kapp could potentially be placed in the top three of Homecoming, particularly because they are a contestant in the Alma Mater finals on Thursday. If they achieve a placing, it would be the second time in three years that they have accomplished the feat. However, one of their opponents, UBS, is charging full speed ahead for the title.
UBS’s skit involved Jamie Foxx helping them track down a kidnapped Sebastian in Miracle Mile, earning them 100 points and second place. After UBS member Donovan Thomas was crowned Homecoming King in the pageant on Monday night, the club is on the rise.
“We are really coming out this year and have a strong chance in Homecoming this year,” said UBS Treasurer Braylond Rayvon Howard, one of the choreographers. “It’s good to place in O-Cheer. We didn’t place at all last year, so it’s a really big improvement for us.”
Their improvement came at the right time, with the two-time champions FEC giving them no break. While they didn’t place in O-Cheer, FEC finished first in the Opening Ceremonies, advanced to the finals of Alma Mater and had members crowned prince and queen in the Homecoming pageant.
There is still the inaugural edition of Storm Warning, a group walk to the volleyball game on Wednesday, Alma Mater finals on Thursday morning and the parade on Friday, so the race is not yet over.