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Three cheers for Oak Park squad

Cheer team won third place at competition

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The Oak Park cheer team won third place in the World School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Fla.

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The Oak Park cheer team won third place in the World School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Fla. Photo Store

After winning bronze medals at an international cheerleading competition, many cheerleaders from Oak Park High School cheered themselves hoarse.

Oak Park High School’s cheer team won third place at the World School Cheerleading Championships in Florida.

Twenty-three cheerleaders from Oak Park (820 Charleswood Rd.) travelled to Orlando, Fla. from Feb. 5 to 10 to compete internationally at the Walt Disney World Resort against 600 teams from 10 different countries. The competition took place on Feb. 8 and 9.

Charwin Dahl, the 24-year-old head coach for the Oak Park cheer team, said the itinerary started off with some fun at the Walt Disney World Resort before practising for the competition on Sat., Feb. 8.

"We checked in on Feb. 5 and got registered. We got everything the girls needed to take part and compete," Dahl said. "Thursday was a full Disney day; it was nice to relax and kind of get all the jitters out."

Friday consisted of some practice and preparation for the competition the following day.

"They did phenomenally," Dahl, who is studying recreation management and community development at the University of Manitoba, said. "It was definitely a very emotional experience for them, especially since they never competed at a level such as this."

The Oak Park cheer team moved onto finals on Sunday, placing third in the competition.

"Manitoba has never been to Worlds before," Dahl said. "The girls were absolutely elated. There was lots and lots of cheering. We have a bunch of girls that have no voices anymore."

Cassidy Fitzhenry, who is a base and a third on the squad, said she and her teammates are still riding the high of placing in the top three.

"When we found out we were in the top three, we were crying and screaming," Fitzhenry said.

Fitzhenry said she and the other cheerleaders had a hard time letting the fact that they were at Worlds sink in until they had to compete.

"When we were on the big floor, that’s when it all kind of sunk in," Fitzhenry said.

Dahl said she believes the team did so well because they had done a lot of research and preparation beforehand.

The team also had very little time to rehearse their routine compared to other teams which practise year-round.

"We had about a month to a month-and-a-half to put (the routine) together," Dahl said. "It was nerve-wracking."

Each team member received a bronze medal, and Oak Park received a trophy to be put on display.

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