The Oxford Sirens, Oxford University’s competitive cheerleading squad, has been going from success to success, with their all-girls Level 2 team placing first in a national competition back in February and the entire squad performing their inaugural showcase just a few weeks ago.
Continuing on from this success, the Sirens hosted the largest Cuppers competition in their history early on Friday morning, with 6 teams fighting for the trophy.
St Peter’s team emerged triumphant, closely followed by Mansfield and then St Hugh’s.
Having fielded a team of thirteen – the largest on the floor – St Peter’s were particularly rewarded for the efforts of their novices. With just three experienced cheerleaders on the squad, all basing and backing in the St Peter’s routine was carried out by students who had begun training just over two weeks before the competition.
Izzy Garratt, the St Peter’s coach and one of the fliers on the squad, said:
“Cheerleading has been one of the highlights of my time so far at Oxford, and being able to share it with my friends has been a wonderful experience.
“I’m so proud of the 10 Peter’s novice cheerleaders, who picked up new skills and learned an entire routine with ease. Our victory is testament to the competitiveness of rowers and rugby lads who although at first had to be blackmailed or bribed into joining cheerleading, are now planning on continuing next year.
“In cheerleading, teamwork is essential- when you’re being thrown 15 feet in the air you have to trust absolutely that your bases will catch you, and every member of the Peter’s squad worked seamlessly together to make our success possible”.
The teams were judged on a variety of criteria, including execution of jumps, tumbles and stunts, dance technique, transitions and use of the floor, timing, creativity and the overall impression of the routine, with points deducted for imperfections or stunts which fell.
Teams were encouraged to execute simple routines well rather than attempt more difficult moves which are likely to go wrong.
Unlike in American cheerleading, competitive cheer routines do not involve chants or pom-poms, with the focus instead on stunting and gymnastics, as well as tumbling.
Members of cheer squads as designated as fliers (the smallest and lightest cheerleaders, who are put up into the air), bases (who provide support to the stunts) and backs (who lift students into the air and assist with fliers’ balance).
As is standard at cheerleading competitions, in order to calculate the final score, judges took the best result from each team after each routine had performed twice. This allows teams the chance to put up stunts which might have fallen or bobbled during the first run on the floor.
Mansfield, the second placed squad, were notable for the complexity of their stunts, being comprised of veteran Sirens, while Pembroke’s dedicated team mascot provided amusement for the crowd.
Also competing were St Hugh’s (who came in third place), LMH’s Lady Margaret Hallstars (complete with matching t-shirts and hairbows) and Regent’s Park. Almost all teams included members who had joined in the weeks leading up to the competition.
The Sirens, having already performed at Exeter Ball earlier in the term, will also be performing at Summer VIIIs. They will also be holding taster sessions for any interested students early next term.