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Competitive cheerleaders at Laurier head to world championships in Florida

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The competitive cheerleading team from Wilfrid Laurier University is gearing up for the University World Cup Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida.

This comes after the all-girl squad took home the top spot at the PCA National Cheerleading Championships for the tenth time over the weekend.

While the team is no stranger to winning, this will be their first time going to worlds which are slated for January 2023.

“Basket tosses, tumbling, jumps, stunting [and] pyramids,” co-head coach Marley Martin said, listing just some of the moves they did for their national’s routine.

But they’re preparing a brand new routine as the rules are different for the international competition compared to nationals.

“We have to take out jumps and dance, and we have to add in a cheer,” said Martin. “So, we have some serious practicing to be doing.”

Martin said her girls are working hard by practicing three times a week and hitting the gym at least twice a week.

“She said it takes a lot of discipline and most importantly, trust, to be a good competitive cheerleader.

“They have to know the exact count that they need to be letting go of something so that they can catch you as you’re coming off from two-and-a-half people high,” Martin said.

The team captain Simone Shanks said that trust is built over time.

“A lot of it is just spending time with each other and team bonding and making sure that you’re developing your friendships,” she said.

Shanks has been on the team for four years, but this is her last year. Shanks said over the years she’s noticed some stereotypes when it comes to cheerleading and is hoping to flip the narrative. The team said the work they do puts a physical and mental toll on your body.

“They think it’s just saying different cheers and ‘go team’ all the time. But it’s a lot more than that,” Shanks said.

For the World Cup Cheerleading Championships, the purple and gold said their goal is perfection.

“The biggest goal is just perfecting it and building as much trust as we can to do a perfect routine and hopefully make that the winning routine,” Shanks said.

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