Regi Panthers take top spot at Cheer Evolution Winterfest

The Regiopolis-Notre Dame Panthers cheerleading team poses with their new first place banner at Cheer Evolution Winterfest 2024. Photo via Panthers Coach Taylor Pascoal.

On Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, the Regiopolis-Notre Dame (Regi, RND) Panthers cheerleading team headed to Oshawa to compete in the annual Cheer Evolution Winterfest competition.

The Panthers started training early in September and work multiple times a week to perfect their skills and routines. Last Friday, the team practised at the Cheer Sport Sharks gym in Kitchener, where they put the finishing touches their competitive routine before the two-day tournament-style meet.

The Panthers spent the rest of Friday bonding as a team, getting an opportunity to explore the local mall and have some personal time before their big performance.

The following morning, the girls woke up bright and early and got ready to compete, their performance time scheduled for 12:12 p.m. At that time, the team took the floor, performing their hard-hitting routine with a confidence that was particularly impressive for their first time competing together as a cheer team.

Kaitlyn Ritchie is a grade 12 student at RND who joined the cheer team last year with no prior experience with cheerleading. She quickly became an integral member of the team, helping them take first in their category at Winterfest two years in a row. She expressed her enthusiasm and how she thought the competition went, commending her teammates for their hard work throughout the season.

“We have been working super hard for the last couple months, and I am super proud of everyone. I think we did a really great job, and I can’t wait to see how we do next competition,” Ritchie said.

One of the team’s coaches, Marissa Letourneau, said she was extremely proud of her team for their accomplishments. She applauded them on their dedication and resilience when it came to their teamwork and their performance.

“All season thus far, the girls have proven time constraints and little setbacks DO NOT affect them,” Letourneau expressed.

“From hitting their first full out routine just the night before, to going out there with the biggest smiles and fierceness they exude, these girls are a force to be reckoned with.”

Maya Hamal is new to the cheerleading team this year. The grade 11 student said she will always remember this experience and the bonds this team has given her.

“My first competition is one no words can explain. The bonds I formed with my teammates created long-lasting memories of teamwork and achievements I will never forget,” Hamal shared.

High school cheerleading starts in September and ends in May of each year. According to Dr. Krish Tangella, cheerleading boasts mental and physical health benefits for people of all ages, and boosts self-confidence, focus, leadership skills, and discipline, and is a great experience. And, as Hamal noted above, cheerleading helps to create friendships, particularly in high school and post-secondary education — and many times those bonds can far outlive cheerleaders’ high school, university, and/or college careers.

Rylie Snider is the inaugural member of the Kingstonist NextGen team, dedicated to fostering the passion and knowledge of local youth writers and reporters while highlighting the vibrant sports, arts, and social scenes of the younger generations in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
A Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School student, Snider is dedicated to keeping people updated on everything going on in our schools, and her coverage focuses on everything, from local sports and theatre, to fundraising events and opportunities for students in the area.
For more information on the Kingstonist NextGen team, email Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].

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