Volume 91, Issue 96

Tuesday, March 31, 1998



Cheerleaders want a fair shot

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
YOU ARE THE WIND BETWEEN MY LEGS. Mustang cheerleading head coach David Tracey said the team will perform pyramids in Daytona, Florida, that no one has ever seen before.

By Alex Chiang
Gazette Staff

Western's cheerleading team will be going where no Canadians have gone before when they travel to Daytona Beach, Florida this week to compete at the National Cheerleaders Association National Collegiate Championship.

The Western contingent of 11 males and eight females will be the first Canadian team to ever participate in the oldest and largest cheerleading competition in the world.

Mustang coach David Tracey isn't prepared to have his team just make a token appearance. Tracey thinks the team will finish at least in the top five in the meet's second hardest pool against NCAA division I schools.

"We could go in division II, because we're not a NCAA-listed team, but we could probably knock everybody's socks off and I don't see Western as a division II school," Tracey said. "Division I are the guys you want to compete against because they're the ones you see on television."

Tracey said the Mustangs will have to be "perfect or reasonably perfect" to win, while the other teams will have to have a "bad day."

Tracey said one aspect that may work against the Western team, which has won 13 consecutive Canadian championships, is that the Mustangs are not an American team. That was the same concern the coach had when the squad travelled to Minnesota in 1995 and won the United Performance Association Championship.

"They have no reason to allow us to do well," Tracey said. "But I can't say that now with full conviction, because we said the same thing when we went down to Minnesota and we won – but then again, we dominated the competition."

However, Tracey said the competition in Daytona will be much stiffer than in Minnesota.

"Our goal is always to win," senior team member Allison Ethier said. "We're not going down there to just put on a show and get a pat on the back."

Team captain Alex Robinson feels being the only Canadians at the competition may put added pressure on the team.

"There's a bit of pressure because it's been a goal of ours to make it to a U.S. nationals for a long time and we finally got into one," Robinson said. "There's a lot of pressure on us to represent Western and our country."

If there's a lot of pressure riding on the team's shoulders, at least a majority of the team has already dealt with it before – 14 of the team's 19 members were a part of the contingent that won the meet in Minnesota.

"Our abilities and what we bring to the table may shock a lot of [Americans]," Robinson said. "Based on politics, they may place us fifth even if we kick butt down there."

The competition, which will begin tomorrow and end on Sunday, will also be televised on CBS on April 19 at 2 p.m..

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998