Dillard’s cheerleading team earns first competitive win in University’s history

Dillard University Cheer Devils competing during Battle in the Big Easy, hosted by Xavier University.

By: Intern Autumn Ryan         

April 3, 2023
Contact: Danielle Miller,


NEW ORLEANS — The Dillard University Cheer Devils earned the first competitive win in Dillard’s history at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Battle in the Big Easy that took place at Xavier University on Feb 9, 2023. 

The team placed second overall with a first-round score of 74.08, a second-round score of 75.9 and a final score of 75.44.

The competition team comprised 18 cheerleaders, including competition captains Kaylyn Turner ‘23 and Ashantis Balancier ‘25, who were all led by Coach Courtney Cadore.

Cadore selected Turner and Balancier as the competition captains for “displaying consistent leadership throughout the season, stepping in when needed, having a strong cheer skill set and for their overall student-athlete attributes,” she said.

Turner, who is a senior nursing major from Jackson, Mississippi, shares how it felt leading the team to a historic moment.

“Stepping on that mat, knowing each one of them deserved the feeling of success because of how hard we worked through the setbacks over the month leading to this moment, is what pushed me to entrust that Coach didn’t make a mistake choosing me. When positive energy is given, positive energy is received; no matter what happened on the mat, we didn’t let it defeat our spirits and that’s a team I’ll lead into competition any day,” said Turner.

The cheer devils spent their entire cheer season preparing for the competition. The team worked on strengthening their tumbling skills at Louisiana Tumble-N-Cheer, increasing their stunting skill set, having choreography sessions, and adding another practice day to their schedule.

“It feels rewarding to earn our first win for Dillard University Cheerleading! It has been an honor to watch the growth of the team since my arrival as the head coach in 2021. The preparation and courage that my student-athletes continue to showcase was rewarded this season and we look forward to continuing to excel,” said Cadore.

After the historic win, the team’s competition season came to an end. They did not qualify for the 2023 NAIA Competitive Cheer National Championship in Ypsilanti, Michigan. However, the team remains optimistic about their future.

“For the future of the team to keep the wins going it’s all about commitment not just physically but mentally as well. I believe that Dillard will go far in cheer. We just have to have faith and stay committed to the mindset,” said Balncier, sophomore psychology major from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

About Dillard University
Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs. Ranked 5th on 2021 The New York Times Overall Mobility Index and 14th in 2022 by Academic Influence for Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship, Dillard’s call to future leaders is to Write Your Legacy. Find out more about Louisiana’s oldest HBCU by visiting