The cheer and dance squads at California State University, Fresno,

have become the first teams from California ever to qualify for the Collegiate National Cheer and Dance Championships. They will compete for the national title from Jan. 7-10 at Walt Disney World Resort in Fla.

Nine women on the dance team and 16 men and women from Fresno State’s cheer team qualified from universities competing across the nation.

“I don’t think most people know just how hard these students train to be on the squad,” said Adair Vasilovich, cheer coach and adviser. “They practice four days a week, weight train three days per week, and cheer at all the sports and community events.”

Vasilovich said members of the squad are full-time students and many hold part-time jobs. “They are not on a cheer scholarship and only receive $200 per semester for being on the cheer and dance squads,” she said.

Vasilovich added that her team members also had to maintain the same academic standards as any other student athletes.

“We still need to raise $25,000 to send our squads to the competition in January,” said Vasilovich. “We have a real chance to win, and believe me, these kids have worked for it.”

To send the cheer and dance team to the competition, Vasilovich said that it would cost nearly $800 per student.

Anyone who would like to donate to help the Fresno State cheer and dance squads may send a check to California State University, Fresno Foundation, CHEER AND DANCE, 5244 N. Jackson KS 45, Fresno, Calif. 93740-8023.