Three teams of cheerleaders from Langley are competing at the Summit World Championships of the sport in Orlando, Florida this weekend.
Langley Cheer & Athletics Gym owners Nikole Davie and Leanna Fisher are leading a 50-person contingent to Florida that includes athletes ranging in age from 10 to 18.
It’s the third time the club has competed in the annual event, and the first time the club has sent this many people, said Langley coach Sofie Van De Keere.
Van De Keere said the three teams, the junior level 1 Radiance, junior level 3 Jade and senior level 4 Allure have been working hard.
“They’re going to Summit for a reason and that’s because they work their butts off in the gym,” Van De Keere said.
Langley teams have been devoting as much as nine hours a week of practice to prepare, but the 15- to 16-year-olds on Radiance have been opting for intensity over longevity with two-hour workouts.
“They make it count,” Van De Keere said, adding the results speak for themselves, with the Radiance team winning a fully paid trip to the Summit, courtesy of the game organizers.
At the Summit level, competitive cheerleading is a growing sport that is considerably more demanding than just waving pompoms and leading crowds in cheering on teams.
It features jumps, dance, stunts and tumbling that require flexibility, endurance, strength and coordination.
Like gymnasts, cheer athletes are awarded points for difficulty, technique, creativity and sharpness.
Van De Keere said the first time the Langley club was invited to attend the event was a surprise.
There was a form to be filled out at a preliminary level competition that asked if a team did well enough to qualify, would they be interested?
So they checked the box, went on to have a good tournament, and got invited.
“It was kind of a shock [in a good way], Van De Keere said.
“It was like, gosh, this is exciting.”
Van De Keere, herself a competitor on the Langley adult team, is optimistic about the Florida event.
“I think they’re going to do so well,” she said.
Viewers can follow the action on ESPN from Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 5.
Is there more to this story?