Two sets of twins have been selected from the Cheer Sport Sharks to join the club’s world cheerleading team, the Swell Sharks.
Beaverbrook twins Ashleigh and Jenna Dodunski and Stittsville twins Savannah and Celena Ethier all received the good news at noon on Nov. 23.
“I was so excited,” said Jenna. “I was on the website right at 12. We were just waiting the whole day to find out.”
Her sister kept her Grade 11 class riveted as they all waited to hear the news.
“I was in the middle of class. I had four phones set up that I kept refreshing,” said Ashleigh, who attends Earl of March Secondary School with Jenna. “I cried; I was so excited … It’s the best feeling to know you’re good enough for that.”
Celena and Savannah were both in classes at South Carleton Secondary School when the news came in.
“I was in fitness, in the change room. I checked my phone and had seven texts … saying ‘Congrats!’” said Celena. “I always said I really wanted to go to worlds and now we get to go.”
The four 16-year-olds will be travelling to Cambridge, Ont. to train with athletes from Cambridge and Ancaster, Ont. over the holidays. The Swell Sharks will compete in the provincial competition in Kitchener, Ont. in March in an effort to earn a bid to compete on the world stage in Orlando, Fla. in April.
“People don’t understand how big it is to go to worlds. It’s like the (National Hockey League) in hockey,” said Ashleigh. “It’s really, really high-level stuff.”
This is the first time the Cheer Sport Sharks, which has 180 members, has sent members from the Ottawa facility to train on a world team. Sam Riem, mother of Ashleigh and Jenna, said the four girls are role models for the younger cheerleaders.
“It’s a pretty big deal giving them the opportunity to train at that level,” she said. “It gives all our younger athletes something to strive for … We’ve got quite a buzz in the club.”
Ashleigh and Jenna are flyers – the people at the top of stunts who get lifted and thrown – while Savannah and Celena are bases – the people who lift and throw the flyers.
“We want to train really, really hard,” said Ashleigh.
The girls will train a minimum of eight hours a day for five days straight while in Cambridge and the team of 20 girls will continue to meet during holidays and long weekends.
You can find both sets of twins at the Iber Road facility six to seven days a week. They all coach younger cheerleaders and use any spare time to practice their own skills.
“I’ve worked so hard. It’s finally paid off,” said Savannah, who’s been cheerleading for five years. “We’re all really good friends. We’ve been doing this so long, so we’re really close.”
The girls are looking for corporate sponsorships to help offset some of the costs. For more information, visit cheersportsharks.com/ancaster/ottawa, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-252-4337.