They do high-flying stunts, won silver in Niagara Falls, and never have a net to catch them.
Malvern Collegiate’s daredevil cheerleading team won second place at the Canadian championships in Niagara Falls this month – their best finish on a national stage.
Jennifer Wilson, a flyer and tumbler now in her third year on the team, says going to nationals is always exciting.
“They’re a lot of fun,” said Wilson. “We work the whole year for them.”
To get an edge, Wilson said teams try to fill their routines with high-difficulty stunts and tumbles.
As a flyer, she said one of the harder stunts is called The Scorpion.
It means balancing on one foot while teammates lift you high in the air, then pulling your other foot over your head with both hands before they carefully lower you to the ground.
“As long as you have a lot of trust in the people throwing you, you’re good,” said Wilson.
At nationals, Malvern competed against other high schools from Ontario and Quebec, and finished less than a point behind the first-place team from Sir Oliver Mowat. Judges gave Malvern high points for pyramid-building, and they finished with the fewest errors of any school.
Shirley Hutt, Wilson’s grandmother, was among the hundreds of family and friends cheering the cheerleaders in Niagara Falls.
Hutt has also seen the team perform at provincials, the Beach’s Easter parade, and Santa Claus parades from the Upper Beach to downtown Toronto, Oakville and Burlington.
“These kids are pretty committed,” she said.
Coached and choreographed by Malvern grad Sarah Wilson, and by local martial arts instructor Attiphah Moulton-Davis, the team practices twice a week from September to June.
For her part, Wilson said all the stunts and tumbling she does in cheerleading help her in gymnastics, but mostly it’s just fun.
“I just really like the energy,” she said. “You feel like a team.”