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University of Utah spirit squad coordinator Jamie Duncan Plott never expected to make a second trip to China in less than a year, but on Monday she and 11 members of the university's spirit teams will embark on a two-week adventure overseas.

A contingent from the Utes spirit squad — seven members of the dance team and four from the cheerleading team — will perform and help instruct youth cheerleaders and dancers at a summer camp in association with Beijing Normal University. The group will return on July 31.

"We're going into it a little blind and excited for the culture shock," said Duncan Plott, who adopted her son from the South of China this past fall.

Duncan Plott, who will begin her seventh season with the university's spirit squad (seventh as dance team coach and fifth overseeing all spirit teams), said this will be the first time during her tenure she'll take a group of students overseas. Cheerleading coach Stephanie Baxter will also make the trip.

A coach from the Beijing Normal University extended the initial invitation in May, and the Utes moved quickly to organize the trip.

The University of Utah took part in a coaching education alliance between the Pac-12 and the Federation University Sports China and the Chinese Scholarship Council this past fall which had 20 cheer and dance coaches from China shadowing Utah coaches for three months.

The Utes' trip to China isn't part of the program, but the coach who extended the offer was one of the coaches who met the Utes coaches while shadowing them.

The members of the Utes' spirit team were responsible for funding their airfare to Beijing, but Beijing Normal University will pay for meals, accommodations, their site-seeing and travel from Beijing to the youth camp in Baotou according to Duncan Plott.

The Utes' spirit squad members will perform with members of the Beijing Normal dance and cheer teams as part of the opening and closing ceremonies at the four-day youth camp.

Duncan Plott expressed excitement about the chance for both the coaches and students to experience a different culture and different ways of doing things.

"I think its going to be a real good opportunity that will be memorable for the rest of their lives," Duncan Plott said.

— Lynn Worthy —



July 18: Arrive in Beijing

July 19: Cultural communication; Meet with Beijing Normal officials

July 20: Travel to Baotou and meet with summer camp group

July 21: Opening ceremony, performances and ice-breaking activities

July 22-27: Instruction and cultural communication

July 28: Cheerleading competition

July 29: Cheerleading competition; Closing ceremony

July 30-31: Travel to Beijing; Travel back to United States