Cheerleaders set for worlds
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.”