Argyle athletes at the top of their game are hoping to head to world championships in 2025. Year after year the Argyle Cheer team tops the provincial rankings. The current roster is fundraising to return to the World Championships in Florida to take on more competition. 

Taking on the world

The halls of Argyle Secondary are quiet in the mornings.  A lone staffer is slowly making their way through the halls and a PE teacher heads outside to prep for soccer practice. The facilities are dark. As the clock turns over to 7 am a wave of energy enters the building and moves swiftly upstairs. The Gold Cheer team begins the well-practiced routine of setting up the gym and in minutes is stretching for the morning practice. 

The Sea to Sky regional and provincial champion team is looking to take on the world in April 2025.

“It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” said co-captain grade 11 student Melika Doust. “It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t have competition. It can even be hard for the judges [in local competitions]  to evaluate our team because there isn’t really anything to compare us to.”

Co-Captains of the Gold Cheer Team

The world championships are beyond an essential goal, says co-captain Ella Waite, Grade 11. The event draws over 10,000 athletes from 25 countries in a range of divisions. It is inspiring to merely attend, says Waite.

“One of the coolest things about Worlds is that all competitions are at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World and I have watched the stunting there online,” said Waite. “I am thinking of the people that stood on that same mat before me, the success I watched it it was the same place, on the same mat, standing at the same spot as me. It’s inspiring.”

It’s a mega-competition unlike any other Darren Rath, Argyle Secondary School athletic director, has seen throughout his high school and university coaching careers. Argyle has attended World in the past, in 2023 bringing home the bronze.

“I was taken aback at the sheer size of the competition,” said Rath. “There are so many different levels. On the day of the event, more people come through the complex than through the gates of Disney World. It’s so big, that Disney World extends its hours just for athletes so they can focus on competition during the day and enjoy the rides after the finals. They don’t do that for just anyone.

“This is an important motivation for the athletes to achieve their goals and keep them pushing to be the best,” said Rath. “Worlds will allow them to finally measure themselves against their own level and be inspired by the all-star teams.”

For the athletes, there is an additional point of pride.

“I think there is more to it when you are representing your country, not just your school and coaches,” said Doust.

Hard work for success

Argyle Secondary has been a leader in cheer for decades, said Rath. 

“All the coaches who have been running the program from the late 90s have created something really healthy that the girls buy into,” he said. “They have fostered such a positive, inclusive environment that promotes great teamwork. The coaches create opportunities for anyone who wants to be involved.”

Interest at Argyle is so strong there are two cheer teams. The green team is for beginners and the gold team is a higher level of competition, said Doust. When available gold team members are expected to help coach and mentor the green team. It fosters a pathway to progress for those new to cheer and a culture of support, said Rath. 

“It’s a lot of hard work but I know I can rely on these girls on the mat and off,” said Waite. “It takes discipline to practice this much, and still be a strong student. I know I can’t hang out sometimes.”

These are lessons Doust thinks will have big returns later in life. 

“You have to learn to be accountable to yourself,” she said. “Cheer is 10% physical. We practice a lot and it all comes down to muscle memory and it’s 90% mental. You can’t have doubt or hesitation.”

Argyle’s results have been speaking for themselves for years but the captains say that hard work isn’t always given the respect it deserves and attending worlds is an opportunity to feel validated. 

“At school, cheer is under-acknowledged as a sport,” said Waite looking over at the trophy cabinet. “The Worlds cheer trophy is sitting there on the bottom shelf. This is mostly all women competing, coached by women. It should be showcased as empowering women athletes at the school.

“It shows a lot of determination to practice four days a week and compete. Going to Worlds is a chance to show off that hard work.”

Community support

Heading to Worlds is a big endeavour that requires a lot of fundraising, parents school and community support. Costs are estimated at $4000 per athlete. The fundraising is typically pooled. Athletes also volunteer at community events to raise the profile of the team and in partnership with the Lynn Valley Lions.

“There are some athletes who can’t afford such a big commitment financially,” said Doust. “We have team members that have jobs and school who can’t fundraise at the same level. We also have families where the athletes are getting jobs to support the trip. We want people to not be limited by their resources so the team fundraising is pooled.”

They have several fundraisers – including Neufeld Farms –  in the works and the team is looking for community sponsors. To support their efforts or to be looped in for future fundraisers email the parent fundraising coordinator. 

“It’s a fantastic program, within the group there are a number of girls with a lot of self-confidence and they use that to empower others. You see a different side of their personality that may not come out in school.”

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