Angels look set to continue to shine

Cream of the crop: only 30 of the 200 that trial make it onto the squad. Image: Lucy BrogdenCream of the crop: only 30 of the 200 that trial make it onto the squad. Image: Lucy Brogden

Sports Editor, Lucy Brogden, interviewed Laura Cherry, President of the Newcastle Northern Angels, to get the inside scoop on the club.

How many people do you have in your club?

We have sixty members, and are an almost entirely female club.

How often do you train?

We train three times a week, and each session is two hours long. There is also an additional dance session for some members.

What are the main events in the cheerleading calendar?

We have three main events: Cheer nationals, our dance showcase, and our old girls’ weekend, where we invite old club members back to Newcastle to take part in a fun training session, and some socialising!

How did the club fare at Nationals?

Really well, actually. We were really nervous beforehand since you only get one chance on the mat, and you’ve worked so hard all year for that one performance. We put in some really strong performances, and we did a lot better than we thought we would.

How come you weren’t at Stan Calvert?

There was a bit of a communication blip- we said we’d do it, but we didn’t know when we would be performing until a week before the event. This meant we didn’t have time to put together a routine safe enough to be performed on the wooden floor of the basketball court, rather than the mats we perform on usually.

“Every member of the club has to trial again apart from the president and the captains”

Would you like cheerleading to become an event in Stan Calvert?

Yes! Northumbria have previously been quite a dance-based team, but this year they entered Nationals for the first time, so there’s definitely an opportunity there!

Who choreographs your routines?

That’s Georgie, our captain, along with our vice captains and our two dance captains.

How are cheerleading routines marked?

There are about seven judges who mark each routine. Each of the judges are looking for something different: difficulty, technique, cleanness, showmanship among other things. Points are deducted for illegal or unsafe moves- it’s all very complicated.

What’s the worst injury you’ve had this year?

I broke my arm coming out of a stunt. That’s probably the worst injury we’ve had this year, but we’ve had broken elbows, thumbs, hands and plenty of black eyes.

60 club members, almost entirely female

What positions are there in cheerleading teams?

There are three main positions: flyers, bases and back spots. The bases are the two people who stand opposite each other to lift and catch the flyer. The back spot is the tallest member of a stunt group, and they help the bases catch the flyer. The flyer, as the name suggests, is who gets thrown in the air and caught.

Some people are able to do more than one of these positions, but generally you stick to one. Bases have to be identical in height, the back spot has to be taller than the bases, and the bases have to be strong enough to lift the flyer. Our stunt groups move around a lot in the first few weeks.

Can anyone join the club?

We have trials in September, and there’s always a lot of interest- we have 200 girls going for about 30 places, so it’s very competitive. There are a lot of girls who have never done cheerleading before, but we also get a lot of people who come from a gymnastic background.

Every year every member of the club has to trial again apart from the president and the captains. Right from September we’re working on our routines for Nationals, so it’s hard for people to join any later as they will have already missed so much. We’re definitely more of a competitive team than a club.

How many teams do you have?

We have two squads. Our blue squad are level two, and are red squad are level three (the higher the level, the more advanced the team).

What type of dances do you do?

There are three main types of dance: Jazz, hip hop and pom. We also have the main routines, which are the typical routines you’d expect of cheerleaders. Routines have to be exactly two and a half minutes long- any longer than this and the team is penalised. Cheer routines must have several elements: tumbles, jumps, stunts, and some dance.

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