CHEERING THEIR HEARTS OUT
Local squad headed to U.S. meet
These girls are kicking, screaming and jumping up and down to get what they want.
The Cheerios, a youth squad with Windsor’s NorthStar Cheer, is putting in extra hours practising high kicks, jump combinations and back walkovers after earning a spot at the biggest cheerleading competition in the United States. “For cheer you have to be really tight and it’s fun but you have to do a lot of work,” said Daijana Walcott, 11, who has been cheerleading for three years. “Since we’re going to Summit, you have to be really tight, you have to listen to the coaches and you can’t play around a lot.”
The 16 members of NorthStar’s Youth Level 1 team, ages 11 and under, will compete against squads from all over the world at the Summit Cheerleading Championships. The competition runs May 3 to 6 at Walt Disney World in Florida.
“This team has won a bid to the biggest end-of-year competition that they have in the United States,” said Cheri McCurdy, owner, director and coach of NorthStar Cheer.
She said this is the first time a Windsor team has earned a spot at the elite international competition.
“I’m really excited,” said McCurdy. “We’ve been trying to get there for a number of years. We had some teams in the past that I thought would make it for sure, but they would just miss it, like twotenths of a point. I was actually surprised when this team made it, but happily surprised.” The team has been doing extra practices, tumbling and conditioning sessions to be ready for the fierce competition.
“You have to work hard and you need a lot of dedication to do cheerleading and you always have to listen to the coach because then you get to learn new things,” said Nadia Murphy, 11, who has been cheerleading for five years. The competition is still a few weeks away, but the team members are already feeling the pressure.
“I’m really excited but I’m also nervous because I’ve never been to Summit before,” said Walcott. “I know there’s going to be a lot of teams there, but I just know I’m going to have a lot of fun.” Murphy said she’s also “a little bit” nervous, but she can handle it. “I’m more excited than nervous because I’ve never been to Summit and I really wanted to go,” she said.
Along with constant practising, the team is trying to raise $20,000 to pay for the trip to Florida and new gear for the competition. Their next fundraising event will take place April 28 in their studio at 4080 North Service Rd., where they will put on a showcase of their moves before the big trip. More information about the fundraiser will be available on the team’s website and Facebook page once they nail down time a time. Team placements also start May 23 for anyone wishing to join a cheerleading squad.
Northstar Cheer performers Mikayla Fillion, front left, Daniella Papia and Priya Duba, front right, lead the 16-member team during practice on Saturday. The local cheer team is excited about going to the biggest cheerleading competition in the United...