November 25, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 48  

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Cheerleaders win 19th straight

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Dallas Curow/Gazette
AND UP NEXT, FLAMING BATONS. The Western cheerleading team towers its way to victory.

MISSISSAUGA—With a mind-boggling display of flippity kicks, one-handed hoists, more basket tosses than you could shake a pom-pom at and an ability to bend the body that would even make a contortionist green with envy, Western’s cheerleading team captured their 19th national title on Saturday.

The Hershey Centre saw more cheerleaders than any mortal man could have dreamed to see in a lifetime and the tournament was so competitive that a few laws of gravity were broken.

Among the 17 university cheerleading teams competing for the coveted title was Université Laval, whose squad competed in the two rounds of the tournament only to jump into a bus bound for the Vanier Cup final at the SkyDome against St. Mary’s University.

“It’s a big day and it was our first competition,” exclaimed Laval cheerleader Cynthia Brière, adding Laval was sure to win the Vanier (they did).

The competition was so stiff that Western almost lost their national title to the squad from the University of Waterloo, whose experience and somersaulting flair for wooing the good hearts of the audience almost proved too much for Western to handle.

However, the Mustang cheerleader did come through for the people of Western — they have, after all, graced the pages of Maxim UK. Their routine saw basket tosses that put the lovely ladies of the squad farther into the air than anyone else. Somersaults, flips and lay ups rounded out the gymnastic spectacle until it ended with every female cheerleader being hoisted by their chiseled male cohorts to form a cheerleading pretzel above their heads.

It did not end there: the real final move involved five girls forming a cross and being thrown into the air while completing a quarter turn, a Cirque du Soleil-esque sight which certainly edged Western above the other competitors and clinched them the championship.
“They didn’t have cheerleaders like that when I was there,” said an unidentified Western alumnus.

“As an incoming freshmen class, this was thick in talent. These girls are killer. Sometimes the old teams have the experience but they aren’t as experienced, so it wasn’t really as hard as I think it may be on paper,” asserted Western’s cheerleading guru and head coach David-Lee Tracey.

“We ran well enough. Our routine was difficult enough and we have enough talent that we came out on top; we’re the best in the nation for the 19th time in a row,” said Western cheerleader Mike Smith.

“The hard part about this is that it sounds like 19 in a row, but conceptually for three quarters of my team it’s their first one. We’ve got a tonne of freshmen,” Tracey added.
“The trophy is actually as old as I am,” said Kadi Gore, one of Western’s fine cheerleading ladies.

“It’s my first cheerleading in a competition. It’s an awesome feeling to be a winner and national champion,” stated cheerleader Christine Dorrepaal.

What’s next for the cheerleading kings and queens of Canada?

“We get a little bit of a break — but we have to go in the highest competitive category in the United States — I think we are up to the challenge. It’s going to be back to the weight room, back to the tumbling, it’s going to be about fundamentals, fundamentals,” Tracey said.

Cheerleader Jim Sheehan has bigger plans in mind for the future. “Now it’s time to party and that’s what we really excel at, so let’s do it up.”



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