Sports

Rutland cheerleading squads high flying in Richmond

Okanagan Firestorm Senior Inferno Flyers Hunter Geiger (Front) and Emaree Handley (back left) hit new heights with the help of their teammates at a cheerleading event in Richmond last weekend. - Contributed
Okanagan Firestorm Senior Inferno Flyers Hunter Geiger (Front) and Emaree Handley (back left) hit new heights with the help of their teammates at a cheerleading event in Richmond last weekend.
— image credit: Contributed

Kelowna cheerleading programs saw big results at the first ever Mardi Parti Cheerleading Extravaganza hosted last weekend at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Over 1,200 athletes from around B.C. came out to compete and celebrate Mardi Gras style in front of hundreds of screaming fans. Routines included jumps, tumbling/gymnastics, lifts and tosses, cheers and dance.

Rutland Secondary School's co-ed program took first place in the co-ed cheer division bringing home a photo trophy and banner for the school and were ranked in the top three for the School Grand Champion awards.  Rutland Senior Secondary's All-Girl team took 5th in their division. The all-girl team is made up almost entirely of individuals new to the sport this year. Rutland Middle School took second in division B.

Okanagan Firestorm Cheerleading, the Okanagan's first and only competitive all-star cheerleading program, also took the floor in their second competition ever. Okanagan Firestorm started it's first practices last fall and includes teams for athletes age 4 to 18. Athletes on Okanagan Firestorm's Junior Blaze (athletes ages 12 to 14) and Senior Inferno (athletes ages 12 to 18) teams come from all-over the city of Kelowna and have numerous levels of experience from athletes who have never cheered up until a few months ago, to athletes who have competed internationally with programs from other cities.

Okanagan Firestorm Junior Blaze were first in the Large Junior 2 category and Okanagan Firestorm Senior Inferno had their best run ever and hit the floor hard to earn second place in the Large Senior 2 category.

In the individual athlete categories, Rutland Middle School's Britney Evans took second for her very first Junior Individual, and Rutland Senior Secondary's Maddi Arnold took home first of four Senior Individuals, her second straight division win this season.

All of the teams are now going to be digging in at practice and holding nothing back as they all prepare to head to the Sea to Sky International Cheerleading Championships April 5 to 7th in Vancouver. At this competition over 5000 athletes ages 4 to 30-plus from around western North America will converge on downtown Vancouver to earn international titles and bids for both the Summit All-Levels Championship in Memphis and the USASF Cheerleading Worlds at Disney World Florida next month. This competition will be Okanagan Firestorm Cheerleading's debut on a national/international level stage.

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