Cheer­lead­ers set for worlds

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Mor­gan

Cheer­lead­ers Casey Scott and Josie Yock­ney are pre­par­ing to take on op­po­si­tion they’ve only seen on the in­ter­net.

The Ep­som-based pair are cap­tains of a 20-strong all-girl To­tal Cheer­lead­ing team trav­el­ling to Dis­ney World in Or­lando, Florida, for the Cheer­lead­ing World Champs in April.

“It’s kind of mind-blow­ing to be com­pet­ing against teams that you look up on Youtube,” Josie says.

The team qual­i­fied for the tour­na­ment af­ter send­ing in a video of one of their rou­tines to the United States All Stars Fed­er­a­tion, which runs the com­pe­ti­tion.

But Josie, 18, doesn’t feel over­whelmed at tak­ing on ri­vals from around the world af­ter she and Casey at­tended a com­pe­ti­tion in Or­lando two years ago.

“You make some great friend­ships. I’m still friends with the girls I met in Amer­ica last time.”

The team’s tightly chore­ographed rou­tine is one of their strong points, Casey says.

“We mesh re­ally well. We put the harder stuff we strug­gle with at the beginning of the rou­tine, so you end with the wow fac­tor.”

And the 19-year-old feels the team is peak­ing at the right time, with no de­duc­tions from their fi­nal com­pet­i­tive per­for­mance last year.

But that’s what you’d ex­pect from a bunch of girls who are en­tered in the top divi­sion at the tour­na­ment.

“Go­ing to the worlds is re­ally about pre­ci­sion. With some hard work ahead we could place in the top three,” Casey says.

She puts some of the group’s suc­cess down to a close bond all the girls share.

“Every­one has a dif­fer­ent per­son­al­ity and in cheer­lead­ing peo­ple come out of their shell more.”

Team mem­bers who haven’t com­peted in Amer­ica be­fore will have to get used to the sheer size of the com­plex they’ll be based in.

“Last time there were six dif­fer­ent rooms with a stand and stages,” Casey says. “It was held in a ho­tel that had a zoo in it.”

To­tal Cheer­lead­ing head coach Nik Mari­novich says Casey and Josie’s in­flu­ence was il­lus­trated when the rest of the squad voted them in as team cap­tains last year.

He says the two and a half minute rou­tine the squad will per­form in­cludes jumps, tum­bling and throw­ing each other in the air.

“In New Zealand it’s a very small in­dus­try, but has a re­ally high stan­dard com­pared with other coun­tries.” Kevin Allen has con­quered his first Iron­man.

The 34-year-old, who fea­tured in last Fri­day’s Cen­tral Leader, fin­ished the Taupo event in 10 hours, 25 min­utes and 12 sec­onds on Satur­day.

While he’s run plenty of marathons in his time, in­clud­ing one on ev­ery con­ti­nent in the world, he says do­ing an Iron­man is some­thing else al­to­gether.

“Run­ning a marathon is hard on its own, but af­ter swim­ming 3.8km and cycling 180km, it’s to­tally dif­fer­ent. It’s the hard­est thing I’ve ever done.”

Allen fin­ished 183 out of 1495 com­peti­tors and 35th in his age group.

While he felt a lit­tle weary at the end of the cy­cle leg, he says a sec­ond wind spurred him on in the last 10km of the run to fin­ish around 5.25pm af­ter start­ing at 7am.

The Pen­rose res­i­dent says he had such a good time he’s plan­ning on do­ing the West­ern Aus­tralian Iron­man in Novem­ber.

But it’s not just the thrill of the race that has him want­ing more.

“All the ath­letes and vol­un­teers are amaz­ing. A lot of the vol­un­teers stayed there un­til mid­night when peo­ple were still fin­ish­ing.”

While Allen says he’s not that sore af­ter such a huge ef­fort, there’ll be a bit less train­ing over the next few weeks.

“I’ll do a lit­tle bit to keep the en­gine oiled.”

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