'My mind is blown': B.C. team places 5th with zero deductions at international cheer competition
They were the only team from Western Canada invited to compete.
Cheerleading enthusiasts and avid fans of the new Netflix documentary series Cheer know that it's not easy to hit zero on the score sheet at a cheerleading competition, but a team from Kamloops has done just that.
Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Cheerleaders, also known as Team Black, hit zero, meaning there were no points deducted for any mistakes, when they competed at the ICU University World Cheerleading Championships over the weekend.
The zero deduction performance landed them in fifth place at the international cheerleading competition hosted by ESPN at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.
"To hit zero on our first time ever ... my mind is blown," said head coach Meaghan Blakely.
Watch the WolfPack cheerleaders rehearse their routine at the Top Gun All Stars gym in Orlando, Fla.
The team has been striving for the past six years to go to the championship, which is the highest level they can compete at.
This is the team's second year competing at the premier level in the all girls division, but this is the first time they've won a bid to go to the 2020 championships after winning an event in Edmonton last spring.
"It's quite the accomplishment for us," said Blakely.
Team Black was one of only two teams to hit zero at the competition, but Blakely said the score sheet shows they came in fifth because of the level of difficulty of their routine compared to the other teams.
"Our execution was high, but our difficulty, [in particular with our pyramids] was low," she said.
The Thompson Rivers University team also only has 15 members, while many of the other teams have 20.
"We've learned such an incredible amount and have some wonderful feedback to prepare for provincials in March!" added Blakely.
'Top of the top'
The Kamloops team was one of five teams from Canada to be invited to compete this year and the only team from Western Canada.
Blakely thinks being from the West gives them a bit of an advantage since stylistically they are different from the Eastern teams, she said.
"We can provide something that's new and fresh and different."
However, it was the all girls cheer team from Brock University in Ontario that took home the title of first place in its division.
"Our team, they are built of very experienced, smart athletes. These girls are very professional. They are not shy of hard work and they put their nose to the ground and they absolutely thrive in our sport," said Blakely.
The team does stunting, tumbling, dancing and jumps.
"They're one of the top of the top. So, they're a very talented group of girls," she said.
They are also a very busy group of girls — team members volunteer in the community, host fundraisers, do cheerleading camps and clinics, cheer at university sports games and compete.
"The girls are extremely busy ... it's very beneficial for them and gives them some good life skills," said Blakely.
With files from Jenifer Norwell and Daybreak Kamloops