Three cheers for the Bluewater Cheer Athletics Club.
In just its third season of operation, the Sarnia cheerleading troupe had six teams compete at last month’s Ontario championships in Kitchener. And all six had top-three finishes in their divisions.
Two Bluewater teams – Small Youth A2 and Large Junior 2 – won their divisions, and the Junior team recorded the second-highest score of the competition.
With the different age and skill levels and team sizes, nearly 200 teams and thousands of athletes competed in 40 divisions at the mega-event.
It’s an indication of how popular competitive cheerleading has become – and it continues to grow.
Bluewater Cheer co-owner Jodie Bore coached area high school teams for several years. When high school cheerleading was eliminated in Sarnia-Lambton due to liability concerns, she began offering a cheerleading program at the YMCA.
They eventually outgrew that venue and, three years ago Bore, along with Sarah Faubert, opened their own facility.
Located on Confederation St., east of Murphy Road, at the back of the Torbram Electric building, the gym has the high ceilings necessary to accommodate training. It has undergone renovations – including mirrors and a ‘sprung floor’ – in part thanks to the help and generosity of supporters, says Bore.
“We’ve been very fortunate. A lot of people who love cheerleading have helped and supported us.”
At the current rate of growth, though, she expects the club will eventually have to find a new and larger location.
Bluewater currently has about 200 cheerleaders registered. About half are in the competitive stream and half in a recreational program. They range in age from 3 to 18.
Bluewater teams compete at half a dozen meets each year, with half of them in the U.S.
The competitive season is winding down, but there are two more major events to come – an enormous competition in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina the first weekend of April, followed by the Canadian championships in Niagara Falls the following weekend.
Only the senior team is going to South Carolina and Bore says the team’s dedication is phenomenal.
After a long bus ride back from Myrtle Beach, they will be in the gym the next day training for that weekend’s national championships.
Faubert says the Canadian championships are an amazing spectacle.
Held at Niagara’s Scotiabank Centre, she says, the event will feature “around 500 teams on two competition floors … and the place is packed with spectators – you can barely move.”
Each team does its routine twice, on consecutive days.
“The first day is worth 30% and the second is worth 70% – but, really, if you want to win, you have to hit both days,” says Faubert.
Standings often “come down to a tenth of a point,” she adds.