TRU alumnae Keri Lewis and Aly Bradford are adding to the progression of cheerleading in Kamloops, hoping to continue the growth of a sport they’ve seen an increasing interested in.
“Now Kamloops is a big enough city and people are more aware of the sport,” Lewis said. “The rate of growth that we saw when we were working at KGTC was just phenomenal. It was packed in there. There wasn’t enough room for the growth that Aly and I had envisioned.”
Lewis and Bradford were the main cheer instructors at Kamloops Gymnastics and Trampoline Centre (KGTC) before they decided to start their own business. They opened a gym called Freeze Athletics in September, the first gym in Kamloops only for cheerleading.
Lewis attributed the spike in attendance at KGTC to free cheerleading demos and promotional activities she had done while working at the there.
“We saw that kids were loving it and they were amazed that it was even an option in Kamloops,” she said.
The WolfPack cheerleading team has also seen growth in the past few years, going from 12 athletes in the 2011-12 season, to 30 athletes in the 2014-15 season, more than doubling its roster. Bradford coached the team before graduating in 2008.
“We’ve got a good relationship with them. We like to cheer them on and they cheer us on when they can. It’s pretty good to see the sport progressing,” Lewis said.
“The big competition of the year is called Sea to Sky [International Cheerleading Championships] in Vancouver. It’s a big competition because they hand out bids to the Summit Championships,” Lewis said.
WolfPack cheerleaders will also compete at Sea to Sky on April 17 and 18.
“Every team that goes out has a two and a half minute routine. You’re trying to pack all of the things that you need to hit on your score card into that two and a half minutes,” Lewis said.
“It’s pretty cool to see the originality that comes out. [Each] routine looks completely different.”
Emma Humphrey, who is on the junior team, has been in cheerleading for seven years.
“I wanted to get into cheerleading because I used to dance and do gymnastics and cheerleading is a combination of both. It’s exercising and dancing and everything. It’s awesome,” Humphrey said.
Cierra Gallagher is also on the junior team. She has been in cheerleading for three years.
“I tried it during summer a few years ago and I really liked it. It was really fun and I plan on doing it until I can’t be in cheer anymore,” Gallagher said.
Lewis regards the future of cheerleading in Kamloops brightly.
“Kids are looking for it, they’re looking for something glittery and sparkly but also super athletic,” Lewis said.