The Chrome cheer team at the Gems Athletics gym in Surrey, on 60 Avenue. (Submitted photo)

The Chrome cheer team at the Gems Athletics gym in Surrey, on 60 Avenue. (Submitted photo)

CHEER COMPETITION

Surrey cheer teams aim to sparkle at Cheerleading Worlds in Florida this weekend

Pandemic ‘was pretty tough’ on Cloverdale’s Chrome team, Gems Athletics gym co-owner says

The Cloverdale-based Chrome cheer team is flying to Florida for the Cheerleading Worlds 2022, a huge competition this weekend (April 23-25) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, along with two teams that train at the Champion Cheerleading gym in South Surrey.

The Chrome team’s 19 athletes practice at the Gems Athletics gym on 60 Avenue, near the Surrey-Langley border.

Their first “partial paid bid” for Worlds is a big deal, says gym co-owner Leanna Fisher, “because they don’t give out many of those. The competition we went to had two paid bids, so it’s hard to get an invitation to this event (Worlds), our biggest yet.

“We will do fundraising, too, because it’s still a lot of money to go,” Fisher added. “The paid bid is $5,000 which will cover some of the fees for the 19 team members and the two coaches. I have two athletes on the team, two daughters, and I’m going too.”

The Chrome-ies will be in Florida among more than 500 cheer teams competing for Worlds titles in different divisions, involving close to 10,000 athletes.

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW)

Coached by Nikole Davie and Kelsey McQuade and together for about three years, the co-ed team won their paid bid in February at the Cheerfest competition, as Gems’ highest-level squad.

The youngest athlete is 13, a girl, and oldest, 30 – the lone male involved. Most are residents of Surrey, Langley and Delta, Fisher noted.

“They train hard, for nine hours here every week,” Fisher explained. “It’s like their second home, and this week they’ll be here every day except Sunday, and they also practice in their individual stunt groups, for extra practices.

The pandemic “was pretty tough,” she said, “because they couldn’t come here and stunt, which is pretty huge, so they’d just work on tumbling, jumps, dance, anything without that physical contact, which is stunts. They still had to keep their strength up so instead of stunting, we used bands and stuff and they’d mimic the stunting, because that’s lifting humans.”

In alphabetical order, the cheer team members are Ella Asher, Haileigh Cook, Cassie Fisher, Jordan Fisher, Aisha Francis, Brooke Gibson, La’mya Jackson, Cassandra Kiddie, Emma King, Lola Krist, Kiersten Kuchma, Kallie Melin, Brooke Miller, Taylor Miller, Axel Obame, Ava Quo Vadis, Ava Scheelar, Alexa Svejkovsky and Tia Thompson.

Last Saturday (April 16) Team Chrome hooked up with South Surrey’s Champion teams (Obsession and Flawless) and also Vancouver’s Cheer Sport Sharks for a Worlds “send-off” event that featured their routines.

Set to custom music, the Chrome routine has been practiced since September. Video of their Cheerfest performance is posted to vimeo.com.

“They’re incredible athletes,” Fisher confirmed, “and cheer could become an Olympic sport – that’s what they’re talking about now. We have two carded athletes on this team, which means they get some financial help – Cassie Fisher and Emma King. And some others are awaiting approval, because they’re elite-level athletes. They had to test for that, for judges at one of the competitions.”

Formerly Langley Cheer and Athletics, Gems Athletics was launched by Fisher and Davie almost a decade ago.

“We became Gem Athletics over the past few months, rebranding,” Fisher noted. “Now have second location in Abbotsford. Parkour and cheer are huge right now.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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