2009 Texans Cheerleaders announced

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The 2009 Texans Cheerleaders squad was announced on Thursday evening at Reliant Stadium. Of the 42 finalists who were selected from hundreds of hopefuls during the first three rounds of tryouts on April 18, 29 women made the final cut.

The cheerleaders will have a new look in 2009, as only 11 of the 29 members of the squad are returning veterans from last season.

"It wasn't easy making these decisions because there were so many talented girls," Texans cheerleader services manager Alto Gary said. "For the ones that didn't make it, I hope they try out again next year. But I am really excited about working with all the new girls on the squad and, of course, the vets who are returning."

{QUOTE}Randi, whom Maxim selected as the NFL's Hottest Cheerleader in 2008, twins Larisa and Marisa and HoustonTexans.com blogger Sonya are among the familiar faces who will be back on the sidelines at Reliant Stadium.

"I do it because I love it," Sonya said. "This team is such a big part of my heart, and to know that I am going to be a part of the team again is amazing.

"You become a family. During the season, we spend more time with each other than we do with our family or our spouses or friends. This really is my second family, so to have everybody back from finals is such a welcoming feeling."

Gary announced the squad in a meeting with the finalists in a team auditorium at Reliant Stadium. In years past, Gary unveiled her new squad at the Texans' annual Draft Party at Reliant Stadium.

Gary added a few wrinkles to the competition this year, incorporating the Draft Party into the tryouts. The 42 finalists performed in front of fans at the Draft Party on April 25, allowing fans to vote on their favorites and giving Gary an opportunity to see how the ladies interacted with fans and the media. Fans also cast more than 22,500 votes for their favorite finalists on HoustonTexans.com.

"It was tough because we literally have been trying out for the last three weeks," Sonya said. "My heart has been beating out of my chest. It's my third year now, and every year it's always the same – you never feel at ease when you are waiting to hear your number. That's the hardest part is just waiting to hear your number. But I got mine called, and I am so excited."

To get your first look at the 2009 Texans Cheerleaders, click here. Their full bios with updated photos and videos will be unveiled on HoustonTexans.com in the coming months.

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