Cheerleaders take first at nationals

Despite having to re-do almost their entire routine the day before competition, this past Saturday the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ cheerleaders defeated the Carleton Ravens to claim first place in the Cheer Alliance national competition, held at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium this past Sunday.

Although the Hawks were only competing against one other team in their division – university co-ed level six – teams from across Southern Ontario, including the University of Waterloo, York University, Lakehead University and the University of Ottawa, in addition to the various other age groups, competed in the daylong event.

Laurier’s team of 22 (two were out with injury) performed a two minute and 30 second routine, which included the mandatory stunts, pyramids, jumps and tumbles.

“We’ve been recovering from three major injuries, so based on the rewrites we had to do they did an excellent, excellent job representing both themselves and the school,” said assistant coach Jon Cameron.

“We had a lot of rookies really step up and take over some roles that they didn’t need to do, but they kind of came in at the last minute and did it pretty perfectly,” added head coach Melissa Marshall.

Emily Campbell, a senior on the team, explained that aside from the “few little bobbles,” overall the Hawks performed extremely well.

“It was one of the best, most positive runs we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Campbell explained that an immense difference exists between the type of cheering that takes place at competitions such as these, and the type that takes place during sporting events.

“Games are a lot more laid back and games are where we get a lot of our practice in front of a crowd and where we learn how to perform,” said Campbell.

Team captain Amanda Cosburn echoed Campbell’s comments, explaining that when cheering during games they put a lot of their energy into engaging the crowd, and that competitions are much more intense.

“Games are very crowd-oriented; it’s basic stunts that you just put up to get the crowd involved. Here it’s a lot more elite stunts that you’re doing.”

Although there were some supporters for Laurier present at the competition on Saturday, Campbell expressed that the cheerleading team still has a relatively low profile at the university.

“We appreciate the fans that do come out. We wish there were more because we only compete twice a year,” said Campbell. “Considering we’ve won nationals three years in a row, people really don’t know that much about us.”

Cameron agreed with Campbell’s sentiments and noted that it’s nice to have competitions available for them to participate in so that the hard work of the athletes is recognized.

“Our girls are an incredibly talented, hardworking group of people and there is definitely a lot more work that goes into it than being a pretty face on the sidelines.”