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.