Despite setbacks and and uncertainty, the Lord Tweedsmuir varsity cheer team performed their way to a top ten finish in Florida at the recent high school world championships.
The team placed ninth in the world, tying another B.C. high school team, Maple Ridge Secondary, at the 2020 World School Cheerleading Championships. The event was held at Walt Disney World from Feb. 7-9.
“After winning the bid at the BC Cheerleading Association last season, our goal for this season was to work hard to get the skills we need to do well — and to represent Canada as a whole with our other fellow Canadian teams,” said Meena Goundrey, who performs at the position of point flyer.
“We have trained every Friday since the summer,” she added. “There’ve been many setbacks throughout the season.”
“There we twenty of us that competed, led by our dedicated coaches Alanna Mcmillan and Rebecca Lessard,” said cheer team member Olivia Johnson.
For the competition, Johnson said the Tweedy girls set their goal to “hit two perfect runs.”
On day one, which is an exhibition day, Tweedy posted a zero deduction run.
“All the teams got a chance to shake out all their nerves before the actual competition started,” said Johnson.
“Nerves were running high when day two rolled around,” she added. “The girls supported each other through those nerves before the mat and the second (our) team was called, we all put our game faces on.”
Tweedy then had two and half minutes to prove to the judges they deserved to be there.
“It turned out to be (our) best performance of the season and another zero deduction run.”
That performance earned the squad a ninth-place finish in the World Large Varsity category.
But it wasn’t easy for Tweedy to get to the world championships both healthy and in position to turn in a top ten showing.
“At this point in the season the team has pushed through broken bones, fire alarms and power outages during practices, missing uniforms, many routine changes, and even a tornado warning,” noted Johnson.
She said despite all the adversity, the team grew stronger through it.
Goundrey said the team also did an incredible amount of fundraising for the trip.
To fund their trip, they sold dozens of doughnuts, hundreds of chocolates, thousands of raffle tickets and did a massive bottle drive.
In Florida, Tweedy stayed at the Disney All Star Resort.
“This hotel houses one of the most iconic warm up / practice fields in cheerleading,” explained Johnson. “There (we) warmed up stunts and practiced cheer and dance alongside teams from all over the world.”
Tweedy has a lot to build on for next year, as only five team members are graduating and 15 are set to return.
Johnson said the team “learned lessons we will take with us through life and memories that will last a lifetime.”