Volume 94, Issue 55
Wednesday, December 6, 2000
Cheerleaders win 16th national title
Photo by David-Lee Tracy
REACHING FOR THE SKY. Death, taxes, and the Western cheeleading team winning another championship seem to be the only guarantees in life.
By Ryan Dixon
Give me a one, give me a six, what do you get? If you are the Western Mustangs cheerleading team you get the number of consecutive national titles won to date 16.
The men and women of the Mustangs cheerleading team tossed, twisted and turned their way to another Canadian title this past weekend at the national championships held in Hamilton.
"Third place is for pussies," said Western head coach David Tracey. For the Mustangs, coming home with a mere participation ribbon was just not an option, he said, but admitted the team's most recent victory was just as difficult as the 15 preceding it.
He also said for many of the team members this was a first time experience. "It is just as hard every year. It may be the 16th for me and the 16th for Western, but for six or seven of these kids it's their first win. I had one kid tell me this was the first cheerleading competition she has seen," he said.
Seeing is believing and if you looked at the point gap you would believe Western was that much better than the competition. Western took the competition by a jaw-dropping 43 points.
Laurier head coach, Tonya Reesor, whose squad finished sixth, said the difference between Western and the rest of the competition was simple.
"Technical skills. These guys are athletes that could be playing any sport and choose to cheer. They do elite level stunting no other team can match the depth of their guys," she said.
Tracey confirmed the team strives for a higher level. "Everything we do has a higher degree of difficulty across the board and we stick it. Everything is pin straight."
Because the Mustangs have rolled over the competition north of the 49th parallel, they have gone South in search of stiffer competition.
"Not to sound arrogant, but the US is really how we judge ourselves. Yes we want to win our nationals and have bragging rights, but the US is really our acid test," Tracey said.
Team captain, Dwayne Coulas said he agreed with his coach. Coulas said the Mustangs just want to know how they rate against the cream of the crop.
"The only way to re-evaluate yourself is to see how you compare with the best. In cheerleading the best are in America. It's like being the best team in your hometown and someone from another town says there team is better. It's good to go and compete against them," he said.
As far as whether the team has just come to expect winning this country's title, Coulas said that is not the case.
"I don't think it is expected, I think what is expected is that we put on a good show. We see the other teams before hand so we know going in how we rank against them," he said.
Tracey said the team will have a take no prisoners approach when they head south. He said despite never having won a title in the United States, he is confident this could be the year of the Mustang.
"I think we have a hell of a lot better chance this year. We are really attacking hard, I think we have the guns," he said.
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