Alexis McLean can’t wait to fly through the air in Tampa, Florida.
The 15 year-old LCCVI student from Oil Springs won’t be in a plane, she’s part of the London Heat Fever Cheer Squad and she’s been invited to what is basically the world championships in Florida this spring.
McLean started cheerleading eight years ago. She travels to London twice a week, five hours a week, to work with her teammates on routines which they later perform at competitions in Canada and the US. Recently, the group has competed in Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Buffalo.
“There is a lot of tumbling involved like flips and stunts where you’re thrown in the air,” she says.
That’s where the flying comes in. Ever since she began cheerleading, McLean has been “the flyer.”
McLean says when the team first suggested she try being the flyer, she thought “whatever. I kind of wanted to try it.” Even at that young age, the petite teen loved it. “It was fun.”
Over the Jan 22nd weekend, McLean and her team travelled to Buffalo for a competition. The team members left before the results of the tournament were announced – only the coach stayed behind. Monday, the team members got a message there was a mandatory meeting and McLean wondered what they might have done wrong.
As it turns out, nothing. The team won the right to compete in the Cheer Summit in Tampa – the equivalent to the world championships.
McLean is the only team in Ontario to go to the summit April 27 to May 2.
Until then, Mclean says until the competition, the team will be working extra hard. Coaches send daily workouts to the cheer squad emphasising small condition exercises like push ups, sit ups and squats. “we’re starting to practice a lot harder,” she says adding they add ankle weights during practice to improve muscle tone.
She expects there will also be extra practices to make sure they’re in peak form for the event.
Aside from the extra practice, McLean and her teammates are trying to raise $5,000 to help get them to the competition.