Athletes from the University of Nevada Las Vegas will compete in the US National Team Cheer Hip Hop Division

Sacramento, California, February 18, 2020 – USA Cheer has announced the coaching staff and team that will represent the United States in the US National Team Cheer Hip Hop division at the 2020 International Cheer Union (ICU) World Cheerleading Championships, which takes place April 27 – 29, 2020 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World® Resorts.

Marca DeCastroverde, coach of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebel Girls Dance Team, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from UNLV 1998-2002 while she was a member of the Rebel Girls team and a team captain. She leads a team that includes dancers from Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, and North Dakota. Now in her 16th season as the Head Coach of the UNLV Rebel Girls, the UNLV Rebel Girls have competed at UDA College Nationals for the past twelve years and have been in the top five teams in the nation in D1A Hip Hop and have also won four national championship titles in Division 1A Hip Hop, as well as three back to back to back titles in Division 1A Game Day. The UNLV Rebel Girls were also ranked in the top three in the Division 1A pom category from 2013-2016. During her time as head coach, the team competed in China, taking first place in the world, and in May of 2014, performed on “America’s Got Talent.” In 2018 The UNLV Rebel Girls & Company were crowned the Red Bull Bracket Reel National Champions. DeCastroverde is in her third year as the Director of the UNLV Company, the first competitive male hip hop crew at UNLV. Prior to this, DeCastroverde was also the Director of the Cheer, Rebel Girls, and Pom programs at UNLV for three years. DeCastroverde trained as a competitive dancer in Missouri. She has also coached at Kenny Guinn Middle School and Foothill H.S in Las Vegas.

“I am so proud and excited that our team was selected to represent the United States of America at the ICU World Championships in the Hip Hop division,” says DeCastroverde. “We are going to bring an amazing and incredibly strong routine. We are ready to work harder than we ever have before to bring back the gold for the United States of America. We are beyond honored to have been selected.”

Assisting DeCastroverde are Associate Head Coach Brandi Slade and Assistant Coach Franco Paraiso.  Slade is in her sixth year coaching the UNLV Rebel Girls and third coaching the All Male addition, Company. She is a proud UNLV alumna who danced for the UNLV Rebels for four years. During this time Brandi received a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. Brandi was a member of the UNLV Rebel Girls from 2010-2014. During her time as a Rebel Girl, she and her teammates consecutively placed in the top five teams at the Universal Dance Association’s National Championship in the 1A Hip Hop and Pom Division. She and her teammates won the very first Championship Title for UNLV Rebel Girls at 2013 UDA National Championship in the D1A Hip Hop. Brandi was also a part of the first team to compete in the 1A Pom division starting a long and successful tradition for the program. After graduating she joined the coaching staff as an assistant coach.

“I am so incredibly grateful and blessed to help lead this team as they embark on this new journey,” says Slade. “Being selected as the US National Hip Hop Team is the highest achievement in our realm of dance and we are proud to represent this great country. I fully believe in each of our members to represent this country in the highest light and to perform a one of a kind routine out on that floor.”

Assistant Coach Paraiso was born and raised in Las Vegas, and He specializes in urban and hip hop dance styles. Franco was a founding member and captain of the UNLV Company, and has also danced for several Las Vegas community crews. He is a 2018 & 2019 UDA D1A Hip Hop National Champion, a 2017 Red Bull Bracket Reel Champion, and a 2016 World of Dance Las Vegas Champion.

 “To be able to represent our country through dance is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Paraiso. “Words can only go so far in explaining, but hopefully the performance we give on that floor will transcend language and show the rest of the world how much love we share for dance.”

“Considering the history of this program, I consider it a privilege and honor to get to work with this team,” says Stacy Shelton,  Director of Dance for USA Cheer. “Rebel Girls and Co. have such a rich history in the hip hop division and I know they are going to inspire and motivate me and our worldwide audience. They have a way of incorporating their entire body and being when performing and it’s one of the things I love most about them! Not to mention, one of the best at cleanliness and precision. They have the perfect recipe to take USA to the top. I can’t wait to get started with Marca, Brandi, and Franco. They are a dream team!”

For more information about STUNT and USA Cheer, contact Lauri Harris, lharris@usacheer.org.

About USA Cheer:

The USA Federation for Sport Cheering is a not-for-profit organization and is the national governing body for all disciplines of cheerleading. USA Cheer exists to serve the entire cheer community, including club cheering (All Star), traditional school based cheer programs and the new sport of STUNT. USA Cheer has three primary objectives: help grow and develop interest and participation in cheer throughout the United States; promote safety and safety education for cheer in the United States; and represent the United States of America in international cheer competitions.