Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


SPORTS

'Stangs track down top awards

Rucchin's purple and proud in the NHL

Cheerleaders take basket-toss to Daytona

Lacrosse team is as good as gold

Cheerleaders take basket-toss to Daytona

By Ian Ross
Gazette Staff

The Western cheerleading team may have lost the element of surprise but are still optimistic they can win an American championship title.

The squad will begin competition on Friday in Daytona Beach at the National Cheerleading Association championship. Last year was Western's first visit and the team took the city by surprise, finishing third in the Division I standings after entering the event unranked.

This year the team will garner more attention on their arrival, but team captain Alex Robinson doesn't think the hype will matter. Instead he pointed to the perfect timing of the event and the perfect chemistry of the team. "The team this year is better than last year's group," he said. "We're peaking at just the right time. Everyone is feeling really good about our chances."

Robinson said this year's team is looking to top their bronze medal performance from last season. To do so, they will need to battle strong competition from American schools such as Wichita State and Florida International in the second highest division, he said.

The winner will need to shine and carry out a perfect routine in front of a well-seasoned judging panel, said Penny Ramsey, public relations director for the National Cheerleading Association.

Ramsey said she has heard good things about the Mustangs and expects a strong routine. "They have great talent. That's why they are coming. We only except the best," she said.

The Mustangs will be the only Canadian team in attendance but not the only international team. Ramsey said teams from Mexico, Japan, Costa Rica and Hawaii will add an international favour to the event.

For the Mustangs, the reason for the journey south of the border is the adventure of a new challenge, explained coach David-Lee Tracey. The Mustangs have captured the Canadian title for 14 consecutive years at the CIAU championships – leaving little left to be proved above the 49th parallel.

"The main reason for the trip is to find good competition," Tracey said. "We've clubbed everyone to death in Canada."

Tracey pointed out one of the key advantages for Western is the lack of intense pressure of scholarship money and student expectations bestowed on American competition.

"I don't think anyone on our team is going to jump off the roof if we lose," he said.

Tracey added this year's team may have the best chance of international success of any past or present Canadian team. "Pound for pound we have the goods."


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Copyright The Gazette 1999