TRURO, N.S. – More than 90 cheerleading teams from Atlantic Canada are heading to Truro in February for a cheer competition.
Cheer teams will be busting out their best tumbles and stunts as the annual Central Nova Cheer Challenge heads back to Truro for its second year, which will see the best teams from Atlantic Canada try to outperform each other.
“It’s a huge cheer competition our cheer club co-hosts with Valley Cheer Athletics in Annapolis Valley,” said Lisa Yorke, whose daughter is part of the Truro Allstars Cheer Club.
“We will see clubs coming from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I, pretty much all of Atlantic Canada. There will be around 1,300 athletes ranging from ages five to 20, who will be putting their best performance on for a panel of judges.”
The competition will run over two days in February, and is expected to bring a crowd of almost 3,000 people to Truro.
Unlike most other sports, cheer competitions don’t see teams go head-to-head. While the competitive spirit is still there, the competition itself is laid out a bit different.
“Its more so based on individual judgement,” said Sarah Dort, coach for the Allstar’s Junior II travel team.
“Unlike in hockey, where two teams face off, each team within their division has their own time to compete. They go up and do their performance in front of a panel of judges, which is usually around two-and-a-half minutes long, and then they are ranked within their division.”
Cheer teams are judged on their building skills, tumbling runs, stunt executions, dance choreography, and overall performance level among other things.
The Truro cheer teams have just kicked off their competition season with a weekend tournament in Moncton, bringing home first-place wins for their two youth and junior teams, and two, second-place finishes for their senior teams.
Although they still have another two tournaments before reaching the Central Nova Cheer Challenge, spirits are high among the four teams who will be competing.
“We are at such a great point right now,” said Dort.
“Our girls are on an absolute high, they have their head 100 per cent in the game, and they are thrilled to move forward with the success they’ve had already. They’re hungry for more for sure.”
The Challenge will be held from Saturday, Feb. 24 to Sunday, Feb. 25 at the Rath-Eastlink Community Centre from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door with day passes starting at $10.
HL: Recreational programs offered by cheer club
While competition is its main focus, the Truro Allstar Cheer and Tumble club also likes to take a step back and put time into expanding the sport itself.
Within the last few years, the club has begun a new, non-competitive program for young kids who may be interested in the sport.
“We’ve started holding recreation programs lately, which have been picking up a lot of steam,” said Lisa Yorke, a cheer mom at the club.
The Non-Competitive Recreational Cheerleading program is held every winter and spring, and introduces kids from the ages of 3 to 12 to the sport in a much more relaxed environment.
“We have some of our senior girls who are training to be coaches come in and teach basic cheer skills to children 3 to 12 years old, and give them the basics of cheerleading,” said Yorke.
“It’s not only creating little, tiny cheerleaders, but it’s also giving the sport more exposure while giving back to the community.”
The program runs for nine to 10 weeks, with classes running each Saturday. The club has already begun its winter program, but the spring program will begin on May 5.
For more information on the club’s recreational cheer program, visit truroallstarcheer.com.