High-flying Roses impress at Nationals

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Lancaster Roses at the Bombers (v) Centurions game earlier in the year. Photo by Alex Rastall.

The Lancaster Roses Cheerleading Society showcased their year’s hard work at the annual British Cheerleading Association’s University Competition at Telford International Centre and were rewarded with some of the highest scores that they have ever received.

The society entered four squads into the event; Senior Level Dance, Level 1 All-Girl, Level 2 All-Girl and a Level 3 Co-Ed Squad. In addition to this, a Level 3 All-Girl Group Stunt team were also entered.

The first day of the event, saw all the dance divisions compete, where Lancaster entered a ‘transformer-esque’ routine into the Small Pom Division. Under the coaching of Katy Barry, the squad achieved an impressive score of 202.5 out of 300, which meant they were 7th out of 11 squads who entered in total.

The second day of the event, which fell on Good Friday, saw all of the cheer and group-stunt divisions perform.

The day began with a Coach’s meeting where it was announced that the judging panels were largely made up of American judges who are notoriously strict and scrupulous with their marking.

Lancaster’s first appearance of the day began with the partner-stunt team which contained; Lucy Angus, Kayleigh Bellhouse, Hannah Lace, Shona McGinn and Sian Carter. The team scored 97 out of 150 with the judges praising the good variety of transitions and the full twist basket. Improvements to the routine were nothing major but included the flyers’ legs needing to be closer together and more confidence in single leg stunts.

The next performance was Lancaster’s All-Girl Level 1 squad, coached by Emily Kavanagh and Sian Carter. Having had recurring issues with practice space throughout the year, the squad only properly began practicing the competition routine in week 6 of lent term.

This was the first time that Lancaster had ever entered a Level 1 team and their ‘old school’ style routine, which contained the likes of ‘Hey Mickey’ and the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’, went smoothly with high energy and every stunt hitting.

The team were up against six other squads yet, despite the fierce competition and it being their first year, Lancaster won 3rd place overall with a score of 209.5 out of 300, losing only to MDX and the Kingston Cougars Blue. It was a thoroughly deserved result by everyone involved.

Next on the mats were Lancaster’s Level 2 All-Girl Squad. Coached by Hannah Lace and Victoria Coe, this is the university’s largest squad with 33 members and it was the most hotly contested category of the event with 20 squads competing.

Their performance went without glitches and every stunt hitting. Although the smooth performance did not place, the team scored an impressive 220.5 out of 300, which is a vast improvement in comparison to the score from last year. They achieved 8th out of the 20 squads competing.

All three judges’ scores were very high across the board and the comments were that they had plenty of Level 2 skills, the pyramid was good with creative transitions and there was a decent height on the first basket. One improvement outlined was that in the herkie jumps, the legs needed to be more defined as some girls failed to place their legs in the correct position.

Lace commented: “I am very proud of what my squad has achieved. We have improved so much, not only from last year at BCA but from our first competition in February. I believe my cheerleaders performed to the best of their abilities and I couldn’t ask for anything better from them. We rocked the floor and gave it everything we had. The day was amazing, we had so much fun and it’s a day we will not forget!”

The last Lancaster showing of the day were the Level 3 Co-Ed Squad who are coached by Rachael Critchley and Eve Donkin-Annabele. The team were up against 15 other squads.

Overall, Co-Ed performed well with just one stunt not hitting extension; however, the coaches were called up following the routine for an illegal dismount from a handstand pyramid which resulted in a deduction of ten points to their overall score of 206 out of 300.

The judges’ comments were largely positive and outlined improvements with regards to single leg stunts needing to be stronger, pyramid transitions to be quicker and the dance should try to incorporate additional formation changes to create a better visual impact.

Head Coach Critchley commented: “After an early rise for the Roses we ended on an absolute high with all the squad doing amazingly. As being the Head Coach of Co-Ed, I would like to say that we did an amazing job and the routine was nearly perfect. Everyone worked so hard, I could not have been prouder of any member of the squad. Everyone had put their all in for the past year and coming to comp and performing the routine as we did shows that all the hard work paid off.”

On the overall success of the BCA Nationals, Roses Captain Shona Mcginn reflected: “We’ve all worked very hard this year and I am proud of every squad. We’ve scored the highest ever in competition and everyone had a great day. I could not be a prouder Captain.”

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