Durham’s annual inter-collegiate Cheer Competition: A review

Give your cheerleading friends a hug, they need it

Every year the Durham Divas host and judge the Inter-Collegiate cheer competition. This is the one day of the year the college teams compete, in true Durham fashion, completely against each other.

This year’s competition took place on Saturday 24th February, and had an atmosphere that was (mostly) friendly and encouraging. By the end of the day, every team had come together on the performance mat to dance out the stress and celebrate their newly-won titles.

The teams

The teams competing included the Butlers Tigers, the Wildcats (Hatfield and St Cuths), the Angels (St Johns and St Chads), Phoenix (John Snow and Stevo), South College Cheer, Mildert Cheer, Collingwood Cheer, the Bears (Castle and Hild Bede), and Trev’s Cheer.

The ways captains choose their team are very different. Whilst some captains told me they let all their members compete, others held auditions for members and considered attendance records to ensure they have the strongest team possible.

Run-down of the day

The Divas opened with a remarkable performance from their Level Two stunt team (Eclipse), who bought home a national title at Future Cheer’s University Nationals just last week.

First up was the All-Girls’ Main Routine, which Wildcats kicked off (literally) with full power. This was a small category won by Phoenix for the third year running, whose tumbling was neat and impressive, with very little stumbles in their stunts!

The Divas closed this category with a performance from the Electra team (lyrical) who had also picked up second place in nationals last week.

Co-Ed Full Team was the first time we saw a number of the teams compete, and they certainly made their mark. Trevs displayed a difficult routine, with a number of slippery falls and stumbles, but the team importantly remained unshaken and focussed. Bears also put forward a great performance, with incredible team spirit. Butler Tigers, living up to their legacy of last years’ Grand Champions set the bar high with stunts resembling Divas’ own level twos, and showing such shared passion felt amongst what was clearly the biggest college team present. However, Collingwood’s routine had some of us gripping our chairs. This flyer was one of, if not the highest, launches we saw all day, and the photo below speaks for itself. Despite this, Butler took the first place trophy and Collingwood placed second.

The Divas closed this category with a performance from the Blackout team (Level Three Stunt) who picked up second place at nationals also last week. Their clean and confident tumbles and stunts stirred excitement for the small group categories about to take place.

All Girl Stunt Groups are smaller groups of girls performing similar skills to the previous categories of Main Routine. There were strong performances all around but Phoenix’s stood out in its cleanliness with not a single noticeable slip in the routine that subsequently won them first place again. Although Bears placed last in this category, it was incredible how well they performed considering their last-minute substitute after an unexpected injury sustained in the previous category.

Lunch break commenced as all the teams re-fuelled for the day, with a number of them competing again in the Co-Ed stunt and Poms category. Nerves were numbed with Maiden Castle Café’s baked goods and drink selection, or packed lunches for those very organised. The hall emptied and filled up again ready for the afternoon.

Co Ed Stunt Group was the narrowest category in the whole competition, with 0.5 points between first and second place. Trevs eventually took home the title with their male “back” prepping, which is when you lift and hold the flyer completely solo. This was the only time the stunt was even attempted throughout the whole day.

Diva’s stardust (pom) team closed this category and opened the next.

Poms, the most awaited category, is where six teams fought for their lives with pom poms and kick lines in the largest division of the day. Butler’s renowned team not competing was a blow to the competition, but a blow that left a spot open at the top. South College Cheer and Mildert Cheer made their first performances of the day in this category, and South performed for the first time ever. Although Mildert’s uniforms did not arrive in time, their glowing gold pom poms still reflected their vibrant spirit. Remarkable performances came from Collingwood and Phoenix, but Phoenix took home the title with a polished and complex routine performed with pride, with the rest of the team screaming and cheering from the sides of the mat.

Phoenix Pom Captains Alex Reidy and Lois Ryott.

More results

Collingwood made their mark placing high in almost every category and winning a number of the fun ‘games’ with the highest jumps, best dance moves and strongest fly stunt hold.

Phoenix brought home three trophies, and Trevs one, but the Grand Champions went to Butler, whose Co Ed full team stunt group scored the highest score of the day, with not a single point being deducted. They thus continue to defend their title.

And that is all until next year, when the battle begins again.

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