McMaster cheerleaders look to bounce back after botched routine goes viral | CBC News

McMaster cheerleaders look to bounce back after botched routine goes viral | CBC News

McMaster Marauders Cheerleaders are looking to bounce back after a botched routine in Florida went viral late last week.

The team was performing at the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance College National Championship in Daytona, Fla., on April 6 and April 7.

Video of the team’s first run went viral on Twitter after it had several blunders.

The mistakes start within the first 20 seconds of the roughly two-minute performance.

One part shows a woman get thrown at least 10 feet into the air, but instead of going straight up, she flies toward the side and is caught inches from the mat below.

Moments later after regrouping, two sets of people form a pyramid, one of which nearly saw a woman spike her head straight into the mat.

‘Terrible run’ sees team get ‘cyberbullied’: cheerleader

Videos of the routine got over 430,000 views on Twitter, along with many tweets critical of the performance.

Thalia Marinis, a cheerleader on the team, posted a TikTok saying the team did well in practice but it didn’t translate to the mat.

“We were literally getting cyberbullied … the coaches were telling us to ignore all the mean tweets,” she said.

“We decided to go on a walk to make ourselves feel better and get some food … it was exactly what I needed to feel better about our terrible competition day.”

Scores from the competition show they had 10 deductions and placed last that day in their division, advanced all-girl division 1A.

Coach Kelly Van Burgsteden told CBC Hamilton the team practised since last summer and won the Power Cheerleading Athletics Collegiate Championship (PCA), which prompted the team to enter this competition.

She said this was the first time the team performed at this level.

“When a skill misfires in cheerleading it can look scary to the general public. Nobody was injured,” she wrote in an email.

“It happens to even the best teams and sometimes it’s not your day … we will be better in the long run for this. This is how programs grow and learn.”

She, like Marinis, pointed to the heat for some of the errors.

“In Canada we compete at hockey arenas and have to do jumping jacks back stage to stay warm,” Van Burgsteden said.

“There is no way to mimic the exhaustion from the heat coming up from the floor in the Daytona sun. It’s something you only get better at with experience.”

A chance at redemption

The team had a chance to redeem itself on Day 2.

“There’s not a lot of pressure because there’s no way our performance could really be worse than it was yesterday. There is a lot of pressure because we really want to prove ourselves,” Marinis said in a TikTok about the second day.

“Nerves are literally 1,000 out of 10.”

The practices that day were flawless, she said, and the run went much smoother after some tweaks from the previous day.

“The changes we made had nothing to do with our girls ability to perform those skills or their ability to perform them safely. It was to build some confidence on a very intimidating mat to perform on,” Van Burgsteden said.

Still, there were some mishaps, one of which saw a cheerleader fall from the top of a pyramid and land flat on her back.

The team ranked last again, but had 4.75 deductions instead of 10.

“We tried our best and I think we did great,” Marinis said.

“It’s so normal for athletes to have bad days, especially in the cheerleading world where you only have one shot to do the best performance you can. Either way, me and my team and my coaches were all really proud of each other.”

Van Burgsteden said the team will come back even better in the future.

“The girls know that they can hit our pyramid and are not focusing on the fact that it didn’t translate fully on the floor this year,” she said.

“They are excited to come back next year with this experience under their belt.”

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