In its second year of competing at the All Things Cheer International Championship, the Bellevue College Cheer team outscored many competitors and finished without any deductions during last weekend’s competition at the Meydenbauer Center. Many BC students attended the events to show support for the team.
Despite their inspiring performance, BC came in second in their division and did not qualify to advance to the Cheerleading World Championships in Orlando, Fla.in April. Adam Yam, the coach of the BC cheerleading team said, “we are very proud of our performance but a bit saddened that things didn’t work out in our favor. We may continue to go for the bid at a competition in Portland.” He also said, “I received scoresheets for every team that was eligible for a Worlds bid. BC Cheer was the only team to hit zero deductions, and we actually outscored three teams that received bids. I am contacting ATC and filing a complaint. I want to make sure we covered all our bases and that foul play is not involved by the judges or event producers.”
The BC Cheerleading team is a competitive, co-ed team. Many of the cheerleaders have prior cheer, gymnastics, flier or tumbling experience. Ally Anderson, a BC student and cheerleader said “I’ve been cheerleading for 14 years. I’m happy to be part of this BC team.” The team is not limited to those with extensive experience or even to those enrolled at BC. Michael Lant, a BC cheerleader said, “[I’ve been cheerleading for] two years but I’m not a BC student.
Non BC school kids can do it too.” Lant enjoys that “you have to really challenge yourself” to be competitive in this sport.
Throughout the year, the BC Cheer team supports BC basketball players by cheering at basketball games, including the NWAC championships. According to the BC Cheer website, “2015 brought a new team, new coach, new uniform and new routine. Since the local cheerleading community has learned of the revamping of BC Cheer, individuals have transferred from CWU, WSU, WWU and North Seattle for the opportunity to cheer at Bellevue College.” The team practices off-campus to prepare their routines for various competitions.
Although cheerleading was simply a sideshow entertainment for the main athletic event in the past, it is now considered an athletic event in its own right. Competitions showcase the serious athleticism required of the participants, and take place across the United States and abroad. In December, cheerleading was given provisional status by the International Olympic Committee in connection with IOC’s efforts to include sports that appeal to younger generations. In the next three years, cheerleading has to petition to be recognized as an Olympic sport by showing that it is practiced globally. The IOC will vote on whether inclusion is appropriate.