The Oxbow Prairie Horizons School Black Knights cheer team had a performance to remember at their first competition.
The squad, which consists of 17 members, travelled to the Best of the West Cheer and Dance Competition at the Evraz International Trade Centre in Regina on Feb. 8, and came home with top spot in the scholastic cheer intermediate division for Grades 7-12.
Oxbow finished with a score of 88.6 out of a possible 100 points.
Velvett Mamela, who is the coach of the team, said she was particularly impressed that they had zero deductions.
“When we practice, it’s usually like that, but to hit it at the first competition is really unexpected,” she said.
The 17 members of the Knights cheer team had really good energy, and they hit all of their difficult stunts. Adding to the excitement is that the Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs cheer team won gold in intermediate Grade 9-12, meaning a sweep for South East Cornerstone Public School Division’s teams in their division.
Mamela is originally from Regina and has been part of the cheer teams for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the University of Regina Rams, and also coached some teams.
She moved to the southeast to become a teacher at Oxbow Prairie Horizons, and decided to start the Oxbow program.
“We’re different from other teams because we’re Grade 7-12, so it’s a larger age gap, but honestly, the girls have all really supported each other, and they’ve made a lot of friends based off of having such young kids working with high school kids,” said Mamela.
They have been practising twice since September, and it amounts to five hours a week. That doesn’t include extra practices on several weekends to further their skills and their chemistry.
Members have also been fundraising to help cover costs associated with the team.
Mamela decided to enter the Black Knights in Best of the West, in part, because friends of hers run the competition, but it also has a lot of high-end teams, and she thought it would be a good experience for the Oxbow team to see the stunts of those teams.
“They have good energy,” said Mamela. “Lots of teams go to it, so that’s why I picked Best of the West.”
She predicted a showing like this will give the Knights a lot of confidence, and she hopes it gave them reason to love the sport even more.
“They went out there like they owned the place, and they were excited to perform.”