Celtics and Carnegie Aviators Awards ICC Nationals
Written by Chloe Boston, Celtic Aviator Athlete.
The weekend of the 29th and 30th March meant a lot more than just the end of a long, deadline-filled term for the Leeds Celtics Cheerleaders, but the culmination, a final showcase, of all we had achieved in our long training sessions since the beginning of October. ICC Nationals had finally arrived – the competition that marked the end of our competitive season as a university team.
Our two teams had placed well at both Future Cheer’s ‘Saturday Night Fever’ in Bath and JAMfest Northern in Blackpool, so we had high expectations of ourselves for our final competition and final chance to perform the that routines we had worked so hard to pull off. The pressure truly was on.
Saturday arrived and with it, a late departure from Leeds. Co-ed and All-girl arrived in Nottingham to the fantastic news that our Pom dance team had put out a well-executed routine – a brilliant start to our competitive day. All-girl chose to enter Nationals in the University All-girl level 2 category, a level we had excelled in before, with the sole aim of hitting a sharp, extremely clean and visually impressive routine. Co-ed decided to enter the University open level 6 division, meaning more adventurous and difficult stunts and tumbles, a step-up from their usual level 4 routine.
Bows in our hair, glitter on our eyes; All-girl were up first. In all my years of competing in team sports, I have never seen a team face so many obstacles in the form of injury, illness and unexpected drop-outs. This team worked solidly through it all, even when two flyers had to be replaced the week of Nationals. All-girl had a lot to prove as we’d won Grand Champions at Future Cheer, so as we headed down to the practise mat, we knew we had to hit a perfect routine.
Celtic Aviators All Girl ICC Nationals
Having stretched and warmed up our stunts, we headed onto the mat hand-in-hand with our heads high and pulled out a really successful routine. We came off that mat feeling proud of ourselves – skills we’d struggled with at training had hit well, our flyers and bases fought for their stunts and everyone did our team proud.
We had so much fun watching the Leeds Met Carnegie Aviators put on an equally impressive performance as we sat at the front of the mat with Co-ed to cheer them on. Not much of a uni rivalry between cheer teams as we are all part of the same family really!
Carnegie Aviators ICC Nationals
Co-ed performed last and really executed their level 6 routine well – there were difficult tumbles from the majority of the team, as well as a few single based stunts. They really threw everything they had into their routine, and we went back to the hotel very happy with our performances.
Celtic Aviators Coed ICC Natioanls
The second day of competition really was the clincher; however, as neither team knew how they had placed the day before and it was our last chance to wow the judging panel. All-girl went out fiercer than ever; our stunts may not have been as tight as they were the day before but our last performance together as a team this year was more than just a routine, we put on a show. The energy both on the mat and off of it was insane and there were definitely some tears afterwards. As final year Natasha Clancey put it, she was “incredibly proud of all my Celtic sisters who killed it at nationals this weekend!… we’ve fought through every setback together and brought home a ton of trophies! Gonna miss the strongest, most dedicated, fierce girls I’ve ever met!”
Celtic Aviators All-Girl and Co-Ed in their pre-competition huddles
Co-ed came out onto the mat on Sunday evening looking stronger than ever; they seemed ready to top what they had achieved the previous night and their opening of the routine had the entirety of Celtic All-girl and Leeds Met Carnegie off of their seats to cheer Co-ed on through the rest of their routine. Unfortunately, the risky side of cheerleading showed itself and Co-ed’s routine was stopped due to injury. After a few nerve-wracking minutes with one of their back spots on the floor, she was able to walk off of the mat (without a stretcher) to applause from the whole crowd. Co-ed then began to prepare themselves to perform again. It is at times like these that the strength, determination and dedication of our coaches to both teams shines through: one of our main coaches, Tim, was able to step in to replace her and perform Co-ed’s routine with no time to prepare. With his help they pulled a second show-stopping performance out of the bag. IT was even mentioned on twitter:
@GSweeting tweeted, “@LUUCelticCheer’s coach stepping in for their hurt athlete is true showmanship well done @AV_Allstars”
@Laura1Jackson “The @LUUCelticCheer coach is an absolute legend! @ICCheer amazing support for his team!”
All three teams sat side-by-side for the results; All-girl placed 4th out of 10 teams, Co-ed placed 1st and our Pom Dance team placed 6th. This past weekend can only be described as an overwhelming success for Celtics, and we’d like to congratulate the Carnegie Aviators on coming 1st in their category too. This has been one of the most successful years for the Leeds Celtics Aviators and I hope to see all three competitive teams winning trophies again next year! I can honestly say that it has been a pleasure training with All-girl this year; we’ve upped our game and upheld our reputation from last year to prove we’re going to keep winning those trophies.
Big thanks go out to our coaches at AV; Tim, Rachel, and Tats for their support, keeping us calm off the mat and going wild whilst we performed. Thanks as well as to all the Co-ed girls who stepped in for our injuries and drop outs only days before competition – we couldn’t have done it without any of you.
The Aviators’ University squads before awards