On Saturday 9th March, the UEA Angels Cheerleading Dance Competition Teams headed off to Manchester where we stayed overnight in preparation for ‘Future Cheer’, a national competition which we took part in the following day. Future Cheer has a reputation for being a tough competition, in which we have struggled to place in previous years. This, alongside the fact that the Large Pom competition team faced a difficult semester of squad readjustments, meant that despite being hopeful, our expectations were none-too-high.
Our disappointment in previous years meant that as a team, we ensured that we trained intensely twice a week. On top of warming up and stretching properly, we implemented a programme of strengthening and conditioning, building our stamina and making sure that our skills were at their best in time for the competition. The routine that we competed with was choreographed by myself, Mari Lewis and Jess Fullerton. It’s about two and a quarter minutes long, and is made up of challenging elements such as jumps, leaps, fouettes and pirouettes, a kickline and extra skills- including the splits and an aerial. We knew we were being marked on a range of things, such as technical execution, synchronicity and choreography, so we spent all our sessions doing everything we could to work on these criteria and maximise points.
On the day of the competition, we all woke up at around 6am and began to prepare. The hair and makeup was completed, the costumes were on, and at about 8:15am we were driven to the arena where we registered and took our places. Our Small Pom competition team competed first and absolutely smashed their routine, finishing with a high score in a really tough division, which we are confident they will only improve upon at the next competition!
Our Large Pom team competed against 9 other strong University Dance Teams in the category, including Lancaster Roses who have an outstanding reputation. We were thrilled with how we performed, and knew we had done our best. However, having danced last in our division, we had been escorted to warm up before we could watch any of the other routines. There was then a gruelling 3 hour wait before results were announced! Yet eventually, we took our place on the stage, huddled in a group, awaiting the results with much anticipation.
They began to announce the results from 9th-1st. Once we realised we had made the top 5, we knew we had exceeded our performance last year, so we had already achieved what we came to do. However, the results continued to climb and our team name had still not been read out. The moment in which 2nd was announced was so surreal as we knew we had won and we couldn’t quite believe it! When they finally declared the winners as the ‘UEA Angels’ we were absolutely over the moon, but had to compose ourselves in order to go up and accept the 1st place trophy and banner (which is now sitting proudly in the Sports Park trophy cabinet). My fellow coach Jess agreed that ‘Comp was such a fun day for both our squads, and becoming national champs made all our training and hard work worth it!’
As current reigning BCA (2018) and Future Cheer (2019) National Champions, we are full of hope for our next competition in Derby on 16th March. We are continuing to train hard so that we can put our best foot forward and hopefully retain our title. Mari, Jess and I are so proud of all our girls and can’t wait to continue to see them thriving. We hope that the result at the next competition is a reflection on how hard they’ve all worked. Bring on BCA!