Halifax cheerleaders heading to world cheerleading competition

1 / 5
Halifax cheerleaders heading to world cheerleading competition

The cheerleaders at Halifax Cheer Elite cheerleading club don't have pom poms and they aren't a cheer squad for a men's sports team.

Cheerleaders compete against other cheerleading groups and a panel of judges award points based on each teams' skills. 

"It's like gymnastics, dance and performance all at the same time," said Halifax Cheer Elite co-coach Jill Turner.

The cheerleading club's athletes are so good that their team, Halifax Cheerlead Blue Crew, is heading to the Cheerleading Worlds Championship in Orlando, Fla. 

In order to get a spot at the championship the 23-member team had to compete against teams from Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The team is made up of girls and boys, ages 12 to 19, who will be competing against the best cheerleaders in the world. 

Many of the teams they will come up against will be from the United States. 

The Halifax Cheerlead Blue Crews' routines involve flips, twists, dancing and being thrown in the air.

"At this level you do have to be athletic, you have to have endurance, you have to be brave and you really have to be a team player..these kids have to trust each other," said Turner.    

"It does take guts to either be thrown or throw someone in the sky."  

The team has been practicing its routine for the championship since July — it's two minutes and 30 seconds long and needs to be executed perfectly. 

"It's jam packed with so many intricate things, we just work on repetition, perfection over and over again to score the best that we can," said co-coach Kelly Whittleton. 

Nineteen-year-old Colby Hiscock has put hours into preparing for the competition. She likes performing stunts like throwing people into the air and also enjoys the dance portion of the routine. 

Hiscock has competed at the Cheerleading Worlds Championship in 2014 and isn't nervous about the stress of the competition or performing in front of thousands of people. 

"It's such an amazing feeling like when you step on the mat you just have a thousand emotions going through you like you're so pumped up when you go out there like everyone's just screaming when you go onto the mat...it's a crazy feeling." 

Bentley Henneberry went to the competition last year. Henneberry has been a cheerleader for seven years, he helps launch people into the air and does tumbling. 

He sticks with the sport for the rush. 

"I love the adrenaline rush really, getting on the mat with all of your friends and it's just like such a rush and all the lights and the music and everyone cheering."

Henneberry and the rest of the team will put their skills to the test at the Cheerleading Worlds Championship April 29 to May 1 in Florida.