The Portsmouth Phoenix cheerleaders have had nothing less than an outstanding and hugely successful year, but not without overcoming many difficult obstacles. The competition squad have managed to exceed their reputation from last year winning an exceptional 9 trophies at the three competitions entered 2011-2012.
The incredible winning streak began in February at Newport for the BCA Westerns classic competition. It is amazing to think of their success when you consider that one cheerleader was injured and missed over a month’s worth of training and another was hospitalised last minute for appendicitis and couldn’t perform.
Therefore, the last training session before Westerns, just two days prior, consisted of rearranging the entire routine from dance to jumps and the cheer. Not to mention one of the flyers had to learn a new stunt sequence in less than an hour!
Although there was massive pressure on the squad to learn all the new changes in record timing and improve from last year, the Cheerleaders were as optimistic, encouraging and professional as ever.
This, including the extreme hard work of more than 60 hours training, paid off with three second place finishes and a first place trophy. This is outstanding when you regard the size of the competition, beating 15 other teams – university and private squads.
For the Phoenix cheerleaders the next bout of success came in April at the BCA University Nationals and Midlands Classic, two competitions played over two days. They took place immediately after the AU tour to Rimini, and catching a coach at 2.30am meant that energy levels were slacking.Catherine Redding
Nonetheless, the first day was a great success as the girls claimed first and second place trophies with impressively energetic performances. They were allowed little sleep before having to do it all again on an even longer second day from 7am to 11pm.
The cheerleaders remained confident until they reached the practise mat, roughly four minutes before hitting the mat to perform for real when the unthinkable happened, one cheerio (who had previously been injured) dropped to the floor in excruciating pain after re-injuring her leg.
She was carried off with gas and air by the paramedics. Control of the situation was instantaneously taken by the coach who, in moments of uncertainty and dampened spirits, began to rearrange the routine.
The girls went on to beat 19 squads for the first place trophy, and it would not have been possible if not for the commitment of the entire club. In this special circumstance, a mention goes to the flyer, who learnt a stunt sequence in less than a minute.
The girls proved they are a truly impressive and talented squad who are well deserving of their great success. Looks like they will have to find a bigger place to hold all their trophies.