Uxbridge/Stouffville’s very own Air Force Mavericks All Star Cheerleaders took to the stage for the last time this season in Mississauga. These athletes competed an action packed two-and-a-half-minute routine, consisting of stunting, tumbling, jumps, and dance. This performance marked the culmination of a season-long journey of progression, perfection, skill building, and teamwork in the newly-sanctioned Olympic sport of competitive Cheerleading.
All Star Cheerleading, now commonly just referred to as ‘cheer’, has changed considerably from the early days of pom-poms and sideline cheers at football games. Cheer routines now combine the artistry and athleticism of a gymnastics floor routine with the energy and group choreography of a dance performance, topped off with the stunting acrobatics cheerleading has always been known for.
As one of Canada’s fastest growing youth sports, cheerleading welcomes male and female athletes, from ages 4 through to adult, who want to join in the high-flying fun.
The Air Force Mavericks have just wrapped up their 4th season, and are gearing up for even bigger and better things, with season 5 team placements set to take place early next week. With well over 100 athletes already in the program, the Air Force Mavericks are steadily growing, as interest in the sport spreads through word of mouth and involvement in Uxbridge/Stouffville community events.
Last weekend the Air Force Mavericks had 7 teams competing in different age categories and divisions, at Cheer Evolution’s ‘Red Carpet’ competition, held at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. Across these 7 teams, athletes, ranging from 3 years old to 18 years old, brought home 6 first place finishes, against some strong programs from Ontario, and as far away as Newfoundland. Among these wins also came ‘Grand Champion’ titles for the Youth level 1 ‘Lieutenants’ Team, the Junior level 2 ‘Captains’ team, and the Senior level 3 ‘Marshals’ team, for achieving the highest scores competition-wide in levels 1, 2, and 3.
Red Carpet was the fifth and final competition of the season for the Mavericks, and turned out to be the ‘cherry-on-top’ of an incredibly successful year. Early in the season teams work on building the skills necessary to put together an elite routine, before competitions start in November and run until May. This year, the Mavericks brought home a Provincial Championship title, in the ‘Mini’ age division (the ‘Cadets’; 7 – 8 yrs old), and a National Championship title, in the ‘Tiny’ age division (the ‘Recruits’; 4 – 6 yrs old).
As the last practices of the season wind down this week, the Mavericks are set to open their doors to a new set of hopeful cheerleaders, at team placements, on May 15th to 17th. They expect, with all the interest this sport is generating in the community, they will be expanding the number of teams they offer, from 7 this year to 13 in the next season. With the international Olympic Committee having just recognized 'cheer' as an Olympic-sanctioned sport, it is likely many more enthusiastic future-Olympians will be making their way to the Mavericks for their shot at gold.
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