Kingston cheerleaders head to the US

KU’s Cheerleading Squad proudly announced their qualification to compete in the US Finals 2013.

Harriet Osborne

The Kingston Cougar Blues secured the first place in the level one category, and the Golds came third in the level two category of the British Cheerleading Association (BCA) National Championships 2013 after training for just one year.

The cheerleading squad is separated into two teams. The level one Blue team is for those who have just started the sport, and a level two Gold team for those with more experience.

Real achievement

First-year graphics and photography student, Rebecca Hodges, 21, started cheerleading when she came to university. She said: “Winning a competition is obviously good, but being told that we had qualified for US Finals felt like the real achievement for myself and the team. I’ve never been told anything like that before.”

If the Cougars accept their invitation to the US Finals 2013, then in May they will be competing against All Star cheerleaders who have trained their whole lives in Virginia.

The National Championships took place in the International Centre in Telford on Sunday 31 March, where the Squad competed against teams that had been training for years.

Best feeling ever

“Walking onto the mat felt like walking into a massive stadium, all eyes were on you, and you have just two and a half minutes to impress the panel of judges,” Rebecca said.

“It’s so nerve racking backstage. You have the pressure of working as a team, after having trained for a year and you don’t want to let anyone down.

“As soon as you come off the mat it’s the best feeling ever, apart from the fact that you’re really out of breath, it’s amazing.”

Jamie Lee Beirne, 24, president of the cheerleading society and first-year biomedical science student, said: “When you practice in the sports hall you don’t really have any idea how big cheerleading is in the UK. It’s only when you step out in a competition and you realise how serious it is.

“I envy football because when you’re missing someone, you can replace them but with cheerleading you’re relying on everyone. I think I would be lost without the Kingston Cougars. It’s like a family away from home.”

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