Three Hawks help Canada win bronze at world championships

The annual International Cheer Union (ICU) World Cheerleading Championships were held in Florida earlier this year in April.

Canada captured a bronze medal with the help of three Golden Hawks.

Meghan Clarke, Emma Heaps, and Jordyn Witmeyer proudly represented Wilfrid Laurier University and Canada at the world championships.

This is great achievement for the three Hawks, as they improved on their sixth-place finish in 2016, simultaneously making history.

With six other countries represented in the competition, this was no small feat for the cheerleaders.

Clarke, a second-year psychology student, talked about how much the medal meant to the team in a recent interview.

“It was unreal. Our team wasn’t really expecting it. We knew that we did all we could, but we weren’t expecting this. The competition was much more difficult than what we had expected. All of our jaws dropped, we were screaming and tackling each other to the floor. It was cool to represent Laurier,” she said.

Clarke has represented Canada at the ICU championships in the past, so she’s no stranger to this competition.

The Mississauga native spoke highly about Laurier’s cheerleading history, and how it played a big part in her decision to come to Laurier.

“I’ve been on cheerleading teams in the past, and a few of my teammates were going to Laurier as well, so we kind of made the move together. We knew that Laurier has one of the best all girl cheerleading teams in Canada. Laurier has won nationals eight times now, so that persuaded my decision to come here. I knew that going to Laurier would only better my chances of representing my country,” she added.

For many people, cheerleading isn’t a traditional sport. It often fails to get the recognition that other sports receive. But with the ICU championships gaining an increasing amount of popularity every year, cheerleading is headed in the right direction.

Clarke mentioned the funding that cheerleading has started to receive, and why this is a big step for cheerleading as a sport.

“This past year, the Olympic committee has officially said that cheerleading is a sport and they have started to fund it. The ICU represents every country that participates in cheerleading and they fund them. This is a big deal in our community because now that it’s officially been named a sport, cheerleading can get the recognition it deserves,” she concluded.

With the Olympic committee backing cheerleading, the sport will gain even more appreciation in the future. This is great news for the Golden Hawks, as Laurier has one of the best cheerleading programs in the country.

Now that the 2017 ICU championships are in the rear-view mirror for the Hawks, they will set their sights on 2018. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see even more Golden Hawks represent Canada next year.

The future looks very exciting for Laurier cheerleading.

The Cord reached out to Emma Heaps and Jordyn Witmeyer for an interview, but they were unavailable at this time. 

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