A cheer fam­ily

As­cen­sion Col­le­giate wins provin­cial cheer­lead­ing ti­tle

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NICHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

Ask any mem­ber of the As­cen­sion Col­le­giate cheer­lead­ing squad and they will tell you they con­sider each other fam­ily.

“We call it our cheer fam­ily,” said coach Ker­i­lynn Mercer.

This cheer fam­ily fights like any other. In prac­tice, they shout and glare at each other.

Some­times they dis­agree with each other, but that does not mean they do not care about each other.

Many of the girls on the team have been to­gether since their first days at the Bay Roberts based school.

When it is time to com­pete, they pull to­gether and all of what may have di­vided them in prac­tice at times dis­solves. Just like a fam­ily.

“Re­gard­less of what goes on in prac­tice, ev­ery­one is there for the same rea­son,” said Level III mem­ber Erica Bad­cock.

“We’re a true fam­ily,” added Mercer.

Noth­ing could be a greater ex­am­ple of this bond than the re­cent New­found­land and Labrador Cheer As­so­ci­a­tion Provin­cial Cham­pi­onships at the Jack Byrne Arena in Tor­bay on May 4.

It was the cul­mi­na­tion of nine months of hard work for the Astros as the team pushed it­self over the hump and was named provin­cial cham­pi­ons of the Level III com­pe­ti­tion ahead of St. Kevin’s High in the Goulds and Holy Spirit High in Con­cep­tion Bay South.

The cham­pi­onship was the first for the school in five years. Prior to the vic­tory, As­cen­sion had been run­ner-up a num­ber of times.

Al­ways the brides­maid and never the bride, as they say.

“It’s amaz­ing to get over that hump,” said squad cap­tain Danielle St. Croix.

Pulling through

The Astros fin­ished with a score of 285.25, which was 13 points above the sec­ond-place team from St. Kevin’s, who scored 272.75.

In cheer­lead­ing, the squads per­form two run­downs of their rou­tine. A score is given af­ter each per­for­mance, with those two scores added up to make the fi­nal tally.

Af­ter the first run, it was not clear that As­cen­sion would be crowned provin­cial cham­pi­ons. The school had a score of 137.5, which put them be­hind St. Kevin’s by a slim 1.25 points head­ing into the sec­ond round.

“Our first run was solid, but we had a few mi­nor fum­bles,” said coach Jennifer Roach.

Head­ing into the fi­nal round, the Astros knew they had to put to­gether a strong rou­tine in or­der to claim vic­tory.

“It can ei­ther make or break you. It’ll ei­ther make you re­al­ize that you’re so close or it’ll add a lit­tle bit more pres­sure,” said Mercer. “The girls knew that they had a rou­tine that was wor­thy of first place and it kind of worked in their favour.”

Pulling up their socks — they don’t ac­tu­ally wear socks — the squad pulled off a score of 147.75.

“The only mem­ory I have of do­ing the rou­tine is do­ing the first clap,” said Katie Power. “The rest is a blur.”

They’re call­ing our name

When wait­ing for the re­sults of a com­pe­ti­tion to be called out, ath­letes can go through the com­plete gam­bit of emo­tion.

It was no dif­fer­ent for the Astros.

“I shot up,” said Jenna Pham of what hap­pened when her team was named provin­cial cham­pi­ons. “You didn’t know who you were hug­ging.”

“When they an­nounced our name, ev­ery­one kind of stopped,” added Mercer. “There was one big group hug, and ev­ery­one was go­ing in­sane.”

When pre­par­ing for the com­pe­ti­tion, the Astros would look at the tapes of pre­vi­ous win­ners and study what it was they did in or­der to win.

Now, the next team of As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros cheer­lead­ers, could do that with their rou­tine.

“For fu­ture teams, they’re go­ing to look back at us,” said Katie. “We’re the girls that won. We’re those girls now.”

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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