A busy spring for Panther Cheer Athletics included a recent trip to Anaheim to compete at the American Showcase National Championships where it proved to be a dominant force.
Panther Cheer entered three teams in the competition and each managed podium finishes. In total, the club brought down 46 athletes and combined with 75 parents, relatives and supporters, it added up to an amazing trip.
The youth level two team (ages 9-12), which has consistently placed in the top three in local competitions, did an impressive job, overcoming a few bobbles to take home the bronze trophy. It was the first international competition for many of these girls.
The club also sent a special senior one (ages 12-18) travel team that featured 13 of the 22 senior level two athletes who competed as a team this season.
"We put this special travel team together to provide an opportunity for those athletes that wanted to travel and compete at a huge international event," explainded coach Stephanie Kennedy.
"With only a few practices to put together a new routine, we had little expectations on how they would do."
Their performance far exceeded expectations as the girls not only captured their division, they were also named Grand Champions for producing the highest score of any level one team.
The senior level three team, featuring girls ranging from 11 to 19 years of age, headed to California having endured a rough season that featured injuries and other obstacles that made it difficult to perform a clean routine.
Adding to the woes was an ankle injury forcing one girl to withdraw just two weeks prior to the competition.
"Again, we had no expectations for what placing this team would get as our goal continued to be (as it had all season) to run a clean routine with no deductions.," added Kennedy. "In the world of cheerleading, if you don't run a clean routine, you have little chance of placing top three."
The girls had a solid first day with only some slight deduction leaving them in second place.
With day two accounting for 75 percent of the final score, Panther Cheer came through big time, carrying over a solid warm-up to perform a rare clean routine that gave them first place.
Closer to home, the club's youth one team (ages 6-11) continued its winning streak by capturing an event at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.
They also came within a point of being named Grand Champions among the 29 participating squads.
Panther Cheer trains out of the Richmond Olympic Oval.
For more information on its programs visit www.panthercheerathletics.com