By: Kai Vere
The UPEI Cheerleading team practices their routine at the North Shore Community Centre in York. The routine will be performed at upcoming CheerExpo national championships in Halifax, where they broke provincial records last year with their second place win. (Kai Vere)
When Adora Bustard first started coaching the UPEI cheerleading team, she wanted to make aÂ positive impact in her new role.
After moving to P.E.I. from New Brunswick, where cheerleading is a â€œboomingâ€ sport, sheÂ wanted to push her team to use the talent they had.
â€œI want it to be something,â€ she thought.
After training all year, she and her team went to the national championships where they wonÂ second place, breaking the provincial record for cheerleading on P.E.I.
â€œOh my gosh, itâ€™s actually paying off,â€ Bustard thought.
â€œWe can win if we actually try.â€
Now in her second year coaching the UPEI team, Bustard canâ€™t help but look forward to nextÂ yearâ€™s competition.
â€œEvery year, I get more and more excited for the next,â€ she said.
â€œWeâ€™re just going to get better and better and better.â€
Although P.E.I. is a small province, Bustard believes their team will be a force to be reckonedÂ with in future competitions.
â€œWeâ€™re on the rise,â€ said Bustard.
â€œSometimes, we might be a bit of an underdog team, but that just adds to the fight. We want toÂ win, we want to prove ourselves.â€
The team is currently working on their routine for the CheerExpo national championships inÂ Halifax on March 30.
They will be practicing more and more as it gets closer to nationals, Bustard said.
â€œThereâ€™s more pressure on us now than ever, because every practice counts when it comes to theÂ last few weeks.â€
Cheerleader Madyson Kane MacPhail agrees the pressure is on, especially after their secondÂ place win last year, she said.
â€œWe have eyes watching us now. But I think that this support is really going to drive us toÂ actually like try harder. I think itâ€™s a good pressure that we have from UPEI and the community.â€
The team is doing well with their routine, despite a few bumps in the road with one teammateÂ unable to perform, MacPhail said.
â€œAll the girls, weâ€™re all pushing through and staying positive,â€ she said.
â€œIâ€™m really excited, I think weâ€™re going to prove ourselves, and show how hard weâ€™re working. IÂ think itâ€™s going to go really well.â€
Elizabeth Riviere, who has been on the team since September, said she is both nervous andÂ excited for upcoming competitions.
â€œI feel pretty confident that we can do pretty well. Weâ€™re just there to have fun and just do whatÂ we know we can do already.â€
Looking ahead to tryouts in September, Riviere said all are welcome.
â€œA lot of people on the team donâ€™t have any experience, so you just have to have a lot of passion,Â and a willingness to learn because we do a lot of crazy things.â€
Cheer is difficult because itâ€™s a dangerous sport, but with the right candidate that wonâ€™t matter,Â said MacPhail.
â€œYou have to be dedicated, hardworking and pushing through, and honestly just like an allÂ around team player too. Just take things as they come.â€