As­cen­sion han­dles ad­ver­sity at cheer­lead­ing com­pe­ti­tion

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pas.ca

Any in­ter­rup­tion in a cheer­lead­ing rou­tine can lead to dis­as­ter for the or­di­nary team.

In­ter­rup­tions can lead to missed stunts, holes in a team’s rou­tines and other mis­cues that make their way onto the judges score­cards. Points are the cost for such de­duc­tions.

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate cheer­lead­ing squad had one of those in­ter­rup­tions dur­ing their first run at the pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion held April 24 at the Jack Byrne Arena in Tor­bay.

Mid­way through their rou­tine, the iPhone play­ing their mu­sic re­turned to its home screen. The song stopped play­ing and for a mo­ment, the two-dozen ath­letes were left with­out any au­dio cues on where to be and when,

“I didn’t even go to my se­cond jump spot,” said cap­tain Courtney French.

Af­ter the ini­tial shock passed, coaches — in­clud­ing Dionne King, Meghan Fol­lett, Ash­ley Clarke and Brit­tany Boone — ral­lied to get their charges back in step. They did this by im­plor­ing their ath­letes to run it through as they’d done count­less times at the gym­na­sium in Bay Roberts.

“We just started count­ing,” said teacher spon­sor Jennifer Roach clap­ping her hands in a beat fa­mil­iar to the girls. Then the sta­dium started count­ing along as well, only one side of the rink was count­ing a dif­fer­ent beat then the other.

“That’s how we had prac­ticed, by count­ing,” said Roach. “They kept go­ing and fin­ished very strong.”

“We hit every­thing af­ter that,” added French.

The Astros ea­gerly awaited their se­cond run. In a way, they were look­ing for redemp­tion.

This time the mu­sic wouldn’t shut off and they’d show the judges what they had in­tended the first go around.

“It made us want to push harder for the se­cond round,” said French.

With that in mind, As­cen­sion brought their A game to the se­cond run through and did enough to land them in se­cond place be­hind win­ners Holy Spirit High of Manuels and third place Gon­zaga High of St. John’s in Level II com­pe­ti­tion.

“They came out in the se­cond round and did a pretty flaw­less rou­tine,” said Roach. “Our scores went up a lot af­ter the first round.”

A young crew

Aside from seven se­niors, the ma­jor­ity of the Astros squad was made up of younger ath­letes with­out a ton of com­pe­ti­tion ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cheer­lead­ing in this province boils down to one per­for­mance at the pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion.

All of the work be­fore­hand is put in at the gym, but com­pet­ing is a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal. To help with the chal­lenges of per­form­ing in front of a au­di­ence, As­cen­sion got in a com­pe­ti­tion prior to provin­cials.

They went to the Char­ity Clas­sic in March.

“We went to Char­ity mostly as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Roach.

How a team over­comes ad­ver­sity can say a lot about the char­ac­ter of a group of in­di­vid­u­als.

Roach said she was proud of how her group han­dled what was thrown at them and kept push­ing for­ward.

In fact, the en­tire coach­ing group was pleased by the work put in af­ter the mis­cue.

“We’re def­i­nitely proud of how they fought,” said Roach.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate cheer­lead­ing squad fin­ished se­cond in Level II of the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships held April 24 at the Jack Byrne Arena in Tor­bay.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate cheer­lead­ing squad fin­ished se­cond in Level II of the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships held April 24 at the Jack Byrne Arena in Tor­bay. The team was com­prised mostly of younger tal­ent, but there were seven se­niors. Here they are with their coaches. From left, it’s Ash­ley Clarke, Jennifer Roach, Amy Win­ter, Shelby Car­a­van, Kait­lyn Good­burn, Eve Wil­liamson, Courtney French, Shauna Bur­ton, Sarah Oliver, Dionne King and Meghan Fol­lett.

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