LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — When you think of under dogs overcoming the odds you might think of Rudy or maybe Rocky, but now you can think of Ragin Cajuns.

The Ragin Cajun cheerleaders compete every year in national competition in Orlando, FL against schools from across the country including Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio State, and LSU. But this year looked a little different…

Jack Richard (cheerleader): “We had two months of prep time. About half that time we had no coach, we had a coach that walked out on us. But we knew nationals was something we really wanted, so we decided we’re going to have to make a routine, we have to do something.  

The team spent most of there 2 months preparing for competition working on their own to learn the skills needed to compete.  

Mayah Olivero (cheerleader): “Our team pulled together and showed their determination and their desire to persevere through adversity. And we had to depend on ourselves as a team and as a family.”  

And just 3 weeks before competition… help finally arrived, with coach Annadel McKnight.

Annadel McKnight (head cheerleading coach): “I took over officially on December 16 and we competed on January 14 for the first time, so a little less than a month. A lot of teams that we compete against had their full routines before thanksgiving. It’s my first year coaching at the collegiate level so we all kind of figuring it out together.”    

In just 3 weeks the Cajuns were able to complete the routine, travel to Orlando, and hit every stunt in front of the entire country.

And to make things even better… They ranked 9th in the country

The Ragin Cajuns ranked in the top 10 for just the second time in the school’s history.

A milestone that turned a year full of surprises into one these athletes will never forget.

Annadel McKnight (head cheerleading coach): “To me I’m just overjoyed for the kids. From the first day I walked into that practiced I said if any team is going to do something big it’s this team.”

Mayah Olivero (cheerleader): “This means the world to me. We overcame adversity that I haven’t heard of any team having to overcome before.

“Jack Richard (cheerleader): “Annadel being our coach, the team that we had, it was just like the stars aligned. It was perfect.”