The Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School cheerleading team pose for a photograph outside of the World School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla. (Contributed)

Lord Tweedsmuir cheerleaders win bronze at world championships

Cloverdale team comes home from world stage with third place finish

The Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School cheerleading team has returned from the World School Cheerleading Championship with a third-place finish.

The championship brought high school level cheerleading teams from all over the world to Orlando, Fla. for a two-day competition on Feb. 10 and 11. Cloverdale’s LTSS team practiced for months ahead of the weekend, ever since earning their bid by winning the Sea to Sky International Cheerleading and Dance Championships in Vancouver last May. The stunt-heavy routine they prepared for the world championships was the most difficult one the students had ever performed together.

The 18-member team headed down to Orlando last week, along with coaches Cassi Campbell, Alanna McMillan and Rebecca Lessard, to perform that routine on the world stage.

Cheerleader Emma Thornton, 18, said the team was thankful for the chance to run through their performance in front of judges in a practice session on Saturday.

As it turned out, the Lord Tweedsmuir team had an illegal stunt in their routine — one of their tosses was too high, and not allowed by the competition regulations. Saturday’s feedback gave the team the chance to change their routine so they would not be penalized on competition day.

Emma said that the team gave a great performance during the Sunday contest. “We hit. Nothing fell,” she said, explaining that the team “hit” every element perfectly in their routine.

“Everyone felt really good about it. I don’t think we could have done much better,” she said.

The competition was strong, and Emma said she felt proud of their third-place finish. The team that won their division, Winfield High School, was “amazing to see.”

The international teams brought different cheer styles to the floor. The American teams, for instance, were “a lot cleaner and better at leading a crowd than we were,” said Emma.

In U.S. and world-level competitions, performances are also judged on how the audience responds and interacts with a team’s routine. In Canada, “crowd leading” is not part of the judging criteria.

Overall, the experience of performing on the world stage was “a lot of fun,” said Emma. And so was exploring the Disney World resort, where the competition took place.

Next up for the LTSS team will be the Sea to Sky International Cheerleading and Dance Championships, which take place in Vancouver in April. The team will need to have a new routine for the competition, which means they need to begin preparing immediately.

“We’re going to have to work really hard,” said Emma. “It’s such a short time to change our routine.”

Practice, she said, will start up again on Friday.

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