This past weekend saw University of Nottingham Cheerleading’s level 3 competition team, the Nottingham Knights, compete at Future Cheer UK University Nationals, held at the Manchester Central Convention Centre. The event was well attended, with universities from across the country represented across numerous divisions. In arguably one of the most competitive and highly regarded university cheerleading divisions, Large All Girl Level 3, the pressure was on for the #GreenandGold's Nottingham Knights to give their best performance yet.
The girls were up against three other teams at this competition: Swansea Sirens, Southampton Vixens and, potentially their biggest competitors, Loughborough. Performing first, it gave the Knights a chance to watch the other teams perform after them and compare routines, whilst also cheering them on.
After watching lower levels perform throughout the morning and early afternoon, the time came for the team to head into warmups at around 2pm. With strict timings on each section of warmups including the stunt mat, tumbling mat and full floor, every second counted and it was important for the team to use the time wisely. With both stunts and tumbling hitting successfully during their warm-up, and with eyes from their competitors on them, preparations for their routine couldn’t have gone better.
At 2:49pm sharp our Nottingham Knights took to the floor to represent the #GreenandGold in front of a crowd of supporters from various universities and all of Nottingham Trent’s teams, as is tradition. The opening of the routine went perfectly, with all of the tumbles completed successfully with no touchdowns, and the stunts hitting at the back. Then came the main elite stunts, which are one of the most important parts of the routine. Each of the six stunt groups hit and the energy on the mat reflected this, with others encouraging the team to keep giving 110%. Following this part of the routine came the jumps section, scoring full points for difficulty, and everyone stepped up to perform them beautifully.
Despite only being 2.5 minutes long, cheerleading routines are extremely physically demanding and require a high level of stamina to complete, especially for those who tumble and stunt. So, at the halfway point after the opening, stunts and jumps it was natural for our athletes to be feeling the strain. However, with encouragement from each other, the team pushed on. Next up was baskets, where the flyer gets thrown into the air as high as possible by their bases. These again all hit perfectly, and was followed up by another elite stunt, a full up, with four out of five hitting.
Then came the make or break of a cheerleading routine: the pyramid. Every single team member is involved in pyramid and everyone must work together in harmony for it to be successful. Almost every element of pyramid hit for our squad except for one of the ending parts, however this was only a minor deduction in the end. Finally, there was dance which is the most energetic part of the routine and always gathers great crowd involvement and support.
The girls gave their all on the mat and came off exhausted but feeling unbelievably accomplished. After watching their three competitors, the team were expecting a podium but did not think that they could win. At awards, all teams gathered on the mat and the teams were read out from fourth to first. In fourth place was Swansea, then, in a turn of events, Loughborough was third, followed by Southampton in second. The excitement could be felt all around as Nottingham Knights were awarded first place in the Large All Girl Level 3 division with an impressive score of 44.72 out of 50.
On the teams success, captain and coach Jodie Kelt commented- “I’m really proud of every single athlete’s performance considering it was the majority of the team’s first time competing at a cheer competition. I was overwhelmed by the win and the feedback on the scoresheet about the routine as a whole. It means that all the late nights choreographing was worth it!”
The Nottingham Knights Level 3 team are now reigning champions at all three major national competitions: Future Cheer, BCA and ICC. With this season’s BCA and ICC competitions coming up on March 13th and 27th respectively, the team are no doubt planning to retain their crowns at both.
Congratulations to the team on their well-deserved win and we wish them the best of luck at BCA and ICC next month!
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Posted on Wednesday 16th February 2022