March 28, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of Sydney Helgesen

Story by Kaleigh Rodgers

King’s Sociology student Sydney Helgesen knew she was joining a winning team when she signed on to be a Mustangs cheerleader. The squad was coming off of a three year championship winning streak when she joined two years ago. Now, with their victory at the University and Open National Cheerleading Championships in Brampton this past December, that streak is extended to five years. 

“It has been an amazing experience to win nationals for two years in a row,’ said Helgesen. “The national competition is the one I always look forward to because we put in so much hard work to in order to carry on our winning streak at this competition.”

Since the inception of the Canadian Championship in 1985, the Mustangs have dominated varsity cheerleading, winning the event 27 times. This number accounts for all but one of the national titles, each year from 1985 to 2006, and again now from 2008 to 2012. 

The Mustangs’ success at the national level propelled them to a spot at the United Spirit Association College Nationals in Anaheim, California. The team had a strong showing at the event, which was held March 18th & 19th, placing third behind the Weber State and the University of Hawaii.

“It was a fun and exciting experience for us to compete against some of the top American teams for the first time,” said Helgesen. “Finishing third was a great accomplishment for us as we proved that Canadian cheerleaders can do well at the international level.”

Helgesen is not inexperienced at international cheerleading competitions. She began her cheerleading career at Ultimate Canadian Cheer and Dance gym in Pickering. There she competed with the co-ed club team, the UCCD Jaguars, at the International All Star Federation cheerleading championships in Orlando, Florida.

She also had the opportunity to be on Team Canada at the 2011 International Cheer Union world championships in Orlando. Competing against 30 countries at the event, Helgesen and her All-Girl team walked away with the gold.

“It was an amazing experience being on Team Canada All-Girl,” said Helgesen. I was able to meet, and work with, many talented people from all over my country. Having the opportunity to represent my country and bring home the gold is an unforgettable moment.”

Though Helgesen boasts many accomplishments in her nearly 10 year cheerleading career, earning a spot on the top varsity team in Canada was the most significant moment of her athletic career thus far.

 “As a cheerleader you always aim to make it onto the varsity team when you go to university,” said Helgesen. “Knowing that all the years of training and hard work has paid off to make the best collegiate program in Canada is the best feeling.”

While Helgesen is proud to be a Mustang, she is happy to have found her place at King’s. She enjoys being a part of the smaller campus community and the welcoming feeling that comes along with everyone knowing your name. She encourages other aspiring varsity cheerleaders to consider being a Mustang while attending an affiliate college.

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