Pom poms and trophies: the York Hornets’ season so far

The York Hornet cheerleaders are midway through their competitive season, and their success so far puts them on track to expand their extensive trophy collection and defend their university national champion titles over the Easter holidays.

Facing earlier competitions than ever before, all seven competitive squads (including two new ones) have been working hard since October to prepare for Future Cheer competitions in Bath and Sheffield in recent weeks. This is the most squads Hornets have ever taken to a competition, which stretches their budgets to the limit, but helps to promote the University on a national stage and is evidence of the ever expanding popularity of the sport.

As with every year, the squads also faced the challenge of members who are entirely new to cheer and dance. Furthermore, the squad competes against universities which run dance degrees, who you would clearly expect to have the advantage in attracting serious dancers. In just 15 weeks of training the development the club has seen is phenomenal, a testament to the ambitions of their captains and coaches as well as the dedication of every competitive Hornet. Impressive changes were also made to the routines between the two competitions. Hannah Denham, Club President, commented that she was “extremely impressed at the amount of effort and extra training our squads put in to make changes and improvements.” The hard work was worth it; this weekend the club returned from a closely fought competition in Sheffield with four first place trophies, two second places and one fourth.

This year, their dance teams have expanded, adding a new Hip Hop squad to their existing Pom and Jazz teams. Already the girls have brought home a first place trophy and two second places and look set to continue this success at BCA University Nationals over Easter. Lucinda Davenport, Pom Squad Captain, told Nouse “Getting up at 4:30am isn’t as bad as it sounds, especially if you end the day with a trophy or seven.” Certainly the club is bringing home silverware in bucket loads this year.

The largest competitive teams in the Hornets are the all-girl level 2 and 3 squads. Their routines consist of stunts, jumps, gymnastics and dance, requiring every member to be multitalented. Level 2, otherwise known as Black Squad, made their debut in Sheffield coming away with a routine which left their captain and coach extremely proud, as well as a fourth place trophy. As barely any of the members had competed before, Black Squad’s clean and calm performance impressed everyone, including members of other universities and gyms who congratulated the club on its impressive expansion and development. Level 3, Gold Squad, came home this weekend with a first place trophy, having beaten two squads they had competed against just two weeks previously. One of those teams had placed three places over them two weeks before, making their victory even more impressive.

Group Stunt have been the most consistently successful squad so far this year, with three of their four trophies so far being for first place, including a national champion trophy from the debut performance of co-ed level 3. These teams are made up of only five people, and perform a fast paced series of difficult stunts; there is nowhere to hide from the judges’ eyes- yet the squad has performed flawless routines. Looking forward the final competitions, Milly Wickson, Group Stunt Captain told Nouse “it’s unbelievable how many hours we’ve spent working towards a routine that’s little more than a minute long, but all the hard work has definitely paid off and I couldn’t be prouder .”

Despite injuries, complications and sky high ambitions, every squad is on track to achieve their goals this year. An intensive week of training awaits the club before their final competition of the year at Telford on the 17th and 18th of April.

13 comments

  1. 13 Mar ’14 at 11:48 pm

    All of the Trophies

    Is a second place (Jazz team) and a fourth place trophy really something to big up, when in reality they were last place?

    As great as it is to get the teams competing and performing to the best of their ability, boasting about places in a way to make them sound better than they really are is plain wrong. It’s great to be proud of achievements, but achieving last place isn’t achieving anything.

    Okay, results are by no means anything, the teams worked hard and put in plenty of effort and commitment, but congratulate them on this instead of exaggerating their achievements.

    That cheerleading competitions give out an enormous amount of trophies anyway surely brings in the question again, is boasting about numbers right? Most sports would see trophies/medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, cheerleaders can expect to have a trophy for anywhere better than halfway up the order. At the last competition, trophies were still given out, despite coming last!!

    Reply Report

  2. @ the person who decided to remain anonymous

    It is true that second for Jazz, and fourth for Black squad, were last place. What you seem to be overlooking is that we are a chronically underfunded club, who in comparison to other cheer squads who have fully sprung floors and tumble tracks to practice on, have DL028 and a large roll mat. My squad routinely practices in AEW003, not exactly an ideal spot for a dance squad.
    To even be at the standard to realistically enter these competitions is a huge achievement, and one that should not be downplayed. This was black squad’s first performance and for girls who had only started cheering a few months previously, to go out in front of a stadium full of people and run their routine (very well) for what was really only the third or fourth time full-out, well I think that’s something to boast about. Jazz had only performed once before two weeks previously, and contains girls who have never danced before who have approached a very technical, steep learning curve with nothing but determination and hard work.

    Cheer competitions do give out trophies, sometimes from last place. I’ve been involved in sports where that is not the case, so I understand your point. In cheer your participation is valued as much as winning is, and to give everyone a trophy is a mark of what they’ve achieved regardless of where they placed. I love that I am associated with a sport with that mentality.

    Next time you decide to leave your vicious little opinion lying around on the internet, do the courtesy of leaving your name. I sincerely hope you’re not a Hornet.

    Reply Report

    • Underfunded is a strong word, you receive similar funding to all other university of York Sport Clubs. Yes the university hasn’t built you new facilities, but they haven’t built a water based astro for hockey,a decent track for athletics or even got more floodlights for multiple teams on 22 acres. So yes underfunded compared to other cheer teams but not university of York sides.

      Reply Report

    • Just adding to what was said, many cheer teams are underfunded, especially university teams, which is why most have ONE competitive squad, at most ONE dance squad and ONE group stunt. If you feel that you do not receive enough funding, perhaps you can cut down on the number of competing squads you have

      Reply Report

      • Unfortunately that’s not quite how it works. Our funding is based on how many members we have, so fewer members = less money. The rest of the club’s costs are made up with members paying a lot of their own competition costs and fundraising. The size of the club isn’t really relevant.
        Even if what you said was true – why should we have to turn so many people away from participating in sport at university because of a lack of funds?

        Reply Report

        • They don’t all have to be competition squads, do they? That way, the money you raise from fundraising can go towards getting better facilities, and your numbers are not restricted

          Reply Report

  3. Judges will refuse to award trophies in small divisions if the standard of performance was too low. Teams may qualify for trophies based purely on the number of teams in their division, but the judges can refuse to award all trophies for a division if teams simply didn’t match up.

    In small divisions, especially with teams new to the competitive cheerleading scene it is important to look at a team’s overall score as well as their placing. E.g. If there are only two teams in a division but the 2nd place team achieves a 280/300 score then that is still a very impressive placing.

    Go Hornets.

    Reply Report

  4. Dear ‘Anonymous’

    What you SHOULD know, considering you appear to be quite well informed on the Cheerleading world, is that placings at competition are not the thing to be ultimately proud of- it is the routine that you put out on the mat- even if you come last but you’ve put out a routine that you are proud of, that is all that matters and you have the right to be proud of yourself and let everyone know how you did, even if it is 2nd out of 2. What you should also know, is that it is not placings that you look at, it is the score. In the past we have come 3rd, but put out one of our highest scoring routines to date. It just so happened we were against some amazing teams (and it’s fine to admit that). I personally, think it is nice to be give n a trophy wherever you place- it shows appreciation for all of your hard work regardless of your place!

    Another thing you should be aware of, considering you have taken the time to write your comment is that modern cheerleaders strive to support each other and other clubs, not ridicule and scorn each other, yes sometimes results seem unfair but Cheerleading is a sport where you have to roll with the punches (literally) and accept the judges decisions. If you are a Cheerleader, I really hope you reconsider your attitude towards Cheerleading and how you treat other cheerleaders. In a sport where we are constantly put down and told that we are not as good as others, we should be supporting and cheering each other on.

    Please do not put down these girls and boys efforts after all the hard work they put in throughout the year!

    Reply Report

  5. @ Anonymous first comment

    I could just about understand your point if this article had said something like “oh isn’t it amazing that such and such squad placed as highly as 2nd” when there were only 2 squads in the division. But clearly it didn’t. What do you want us to do – just ignore any squad that didn’t come 1st?

    Cheerleaders get enough derision and belittling without other cheerleaders feeling the need to join in.

    Since you so clearly care about the exact placings and the exact scores of every team then why don’t you speak to one of the captains about it rather than publicly shaming people for no reason. I’m sure we’d be happy to clarify ;)

    Reply Report

  6. Did any of you actually care to read what was written, or did you just jump on the bandwagon to attack it? It is nice to see a good number of people did think there something in the comment though.

    It was clearly stated that the performance and the work put in should be celebrated ahead of the trophies, a point echoed by almost other comment.

    A lot of cheer squads are just as underfunded, if not worse. Yes, some have sprung floors and tumble tracks, but plenty of others don’t. In no way was the first post an attack on the squads performances nor how they placed, merely how obsessed the club and the author of the piece appear to be with standings. On your club’s twitter page, you retweeted about needing more trophy cabinets and tweeted how you cleaned up, only mentioning the results. Not once is there a direct tweet about a great performance, or seeing all the effort put in come to fruition.

    That is what the first post is getting at and in no way belittling the efforts and performances of the cheerleaders who performed.

    Reply Report

  7. LOL, last place #embarrasing

    Reply Report

  8. I see your point, but there are actually only enough opportunities for the current Events squad to perform at, Roses is great when it’s being held in York, as are the performances on campus like Woodstock. If there were more opportunities it might be feasible in the future.

    Also there is the issue of practice space, this is true for many of the sports clubs at York but there also just isn’t enough space for the Cheerleading teams to practice (especially as we have to consider the height of the room). So introducing another events squad would be very difficult- Group Stunt squads practice in smaller rooms as there aren’t many on each squad and dance squads don’t require high ceilings so that only leaves the large competitive squad squads practices to steal time from- which are the rooms we struggle with getting the most anyway, and all squads are pushed for room time as it is. So realistically it isn’t really feasible.

    I appreciate what you’re saying, but I would encourage you to go and try cheerleading at York and you can see for yourself the struggles the Hornets have- so many people want to be part of the club, and the Hornets have always tried to be as inclusive as possible- which means having a number of squads as it’s near impossible to train a very large squad twice a week- believe me, we tried this for at least 3 years before the Level 2 squad was introduced.

    But thanks for the rational debate!

    Reply Report

  9. I joined the cheer squad to get with sexy babes, but couldn’t find any in any one of their 18 squads.

    Reply Report

Leave a comment



Please note our disclaimer relating to comments submitted. Please do not post pretending to be another person. Nouse is not responsible for user-submitted content.