This past weekend in Oshawa, Ontario, a number of local teams with Kingston Elite All-Star Cheerleading picked up victories at the annual Cheer for the Cure competition, all while raising funds and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society. In total, two Kingston Elite teams finished first overall in their respective competitions, while four other squads finished on the podium.
For the local club, the competition in Oshawa marked the start of a busy 2022-23 season, as the teams put their programs to the test for the first time. “All of our teams did a great job. There’s always a few things that I think we could work on or do better next time, but it was the first competition,” remarked Kingston Elite owner and director Laura King.
“For some of the kids… it was their first time ever competing in the sport of cheerleading. So, I’m just proud of all of the teams that went out there and did their best, and I’m excited to see what they’re going to be able to do at their next competition.”
Kingston Elite Teams Scarlet (U16 Level A) and Ice (Open NT Level 3) both won outright in their divisions, beating out teams from across the province. Meanwhile, Teams Lace (U16 Level 2 A), Midnight (U16 Coed Level 4), and Imperial (U16 Small Coed Level 6) all brought home second-place honours in their respective levels. Finishing in third place for the local club was Team Blush, who competed in the U18 AG Level 3 event.
Aside from the six podium results, Teams Rose (12 Level 1 B) and Tiffany (12 Level 2 A) secured top-five finishes for the club, coming home in fourth and fifth-place respectively. For King and her fellow coaches, last weekend’s event marked an important step towards bigger competitive targets in the new year.
“The end goal is for our levels one [through] four teams to try and get an invitation to what’s called Canadian Finals, where they invite certain teams and they compete against the best for each level… For our worlds team, the ultimate end goal is to get a bid to [the] World Championships, which take place every April in Florida,” King explained.
Participating in an event geared towards cancer awareness also gave the organization an opportunity to teach its young competitors about the positive social impact they can bring about as athletes. “We actually ended up doing a fundraiser this year. Several different programs across Ontario all participated in it, where we all sold individual pins, and all the proceeds of those pins went to the Canadian Cancer Society. At our club alone, we raised just under $2,500,” noted King. “Everyone has somebody they know who’s been affected by cancer, so I feel like it hits home for a lot of our athletes and families.”
With cheerleading gaining new exposure in recent years, thanks in part to shows like Netflix’s Cheer, King said the sport has gained new recognition as a serious athletic endeavour. “We’ve been around for a while, but over the years [the sport] has definitely grown. We had the show Cheer… which I feel brought light to how competitive our sport truly is and how athletic it is. I think we can finally push past that stereotype of sideline cheerleaders, compared to competitive cheerleaders that go out onto the floor and do their competitive routine.”
Now in its 18th season, Kingston Elite All-Star Cheerleading continues to grow the sport of cheer throughout Kingston and the surrounding area. Up next, the club’s competitive teams will soon set their sights on the Big East Blast, set for February in Ottawa, ahead of the Canadian and World Championships set for later in the spring.