© — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
MAX MAX Arts, Athletics, Wellness cheerleaders perform a tower during a training session earlier this week. The program, just two weeks old, has already attracted 340 competitors.
New program attracting attention
It’s a sport that’s been around for a while, though lacking in profile compared to the traditional hockey, soccer and basketball disciplines.
But athletes as young as a four up to 19-plus are doing cartwheels over cheerleading, so much so MAX Arts, Athletics, Wellness started a new program two weeks ago which already has attracted upwards of 340 competitors.
“We had group tryouts, and placed enough kids for 13 teams,” said MAX president Rod Dunne. “To get that many kids is unbelievable, really.”
The teams train twice weekly for a couple of hours per session at the MAX facility on St. Clare Ave. in St. John’s.
For among those who take part, cheerleading is quite competitive. Teams from the Terra Nova Elite program routinely competed in inter-provincial and national competitions.
“It’s hugely popular,” Dunne said, “and not just with young girls. There are males who take part in this.
“You need to be quite athletic to compete.”
The MAX program is operating under Tiffany Henderson, and employs some 20 part-time coaches working with the different teams.
“The big thing, from our perspective, is providing qualified coaches and proper facilities. That gives the sport an opportunity to flourish.”