Cornwall's Winter Blast was a stop enroute to worlds

Members of the Ottawa-based Silky Sharks, from Cheer Sport Sharks, perform at the Ontario Cheerleading Federation's Winter Blast on Saturday February 9, 2019 in Cornwall, Ont. Robert Lefebvre/Special to the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Robert Lefebvre / Robert Lefebvre/Special to the Standard-Freeholder

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The Cornwall Civic Complex was buzzing with cheer on Saturday for the Ontario Cheerleading Federation’s Winter Blast.

For the second year in a row, hundreds of young athletes from across Ontario and Quebec competed at varying skill levels, putting on full display the skill and dedication it takes to be a professional cheerleader.

The day-long event featured 61 performances across six skill levels. Ten performances sought the chance to compete in Orlando, Fla., at the world championships.

The OCF awarded a $5,000 bid to the top-placing team.

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The VIP team from the Royalty gym in Nepean was one of the teams hoping to come out on top in yesterday’s event.

“We are competing for a bid, so we’re just hoping for a clean run today,” said Isabella Granatti, standing alongside her three other teammates, Amanda Trickey, Alyssa Ribault, and Robin Joyce.

“We practise twice a week usually, but leading up to an event we do a few more,” said Ribault, who was up at 5 a.m. for Saturday’s competition. “It’s more competitive than you think it is. A lot of people think cheerleading is just pompoms and stuff.”

At 18 years old, the members of VIP have all been involved with cheerleading or dance throughout most of their high school careers.

Teams came to compete from as far away as the Niagara region, for one of the OCF’s biggest annual events.

“There is a lot of time and energy put in and it’s by a lot of people. Everybody has their own specialty and they try to work together to make everything flow. We’re trying to make registration as easy as possible, we’re trying to make judging as easy as possible,” said Patricia Beck, who has been volunteering to make cheerleading events successful for a number of years.

“When you see the kids and they’re happy it’s rewarding,” said Beck. “Of course, some are disappointed when they don’t win, but it takes a better person to be a good loser.”

Spectators and fans in Cornwall also had the opportunity to enjoy the performances.

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