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Not just for pep anymore

October 16, 1999

Jim Carnett, Special to the Daily Pilot

Orange Coast College has long ben one of the nation's leading

community colleges in transferring students to universities.

Last year, OCC ranked first in Southern California and third in the

state in the number of students it sent to four-year institutions.

With 24 intercollegiate sports, and nearly 500 athletes, OCC, for

decades, has ranked near the top of the list when it comes to securing

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four-year scholarships for athletes.

In recent years, the college ha fashioned a reputation for sending

forth athletes of a slightly different sort to universities: members of

its nationally-acclaimed cheerleading and dance squads.

On OCC's campus, cheer and dance are considered an intercollegiate

sport.

In the five years that Mike Reynolds and Dan Sapp have coached the

teams, the Pirates have won seven national titles.

OCC has finished first in dance four times and first in cheerleading

three times.

The Pirates have also logged two second-place dance finishes and a

second place in cheer.

The University of Kentucky annually has the top cheer and dance teams

in America at the Division I level. Other top universities include the

University of Alabama, the University of Tennessee, the University of

Central Florida and the University of Hawaii.

Top schools on the West Coast include the University of Washington

and...Orange Coast College. It's a short list and, yes, OCC is right up

there with the big boys...and girls.

"We've established a national reputation," said Reynolds who, with his

business partner, co-coach and friend Dan Sapp, has been involved in

collegiate cheer and dance for nearly two decades. "We compete in the

Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) Cheerleading and Dance Team

National Championships each January at Walt Disney World/MGM Resorts in

Orlando, Florida We've won our share of titles in the competition and all

the big four-year schools know who we are. They watch us perform and they

recruit our athletes."

This year, three former OCC cheer squad members are performing at the

University of Hawaii. Three others are at Hawaii Pacific University.

Other former OCC students are at Delta State University, in Cleveland,

Mass., and at the University of Kentucky. Orange Coast alums have also

been Laker Girls, Charger Girls and Clipper Girls.

"Our grads are out there...everywhere," Reynolds said.

Reynolds and Sapp grew up in Texas, a state where football and

cheerleading are a way of life; more accurately, an obsession.

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