Former Rotherham school girl set to fly to America for cheerleading championships
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Jade Sheppard, aged 25, who is a member of Rotherham-based Trailblazer Allstars, is heading to Orlando with the team this spring, which will represent England in The Cheerleading Worlds.
More than 10,500 cheerleaders from more than 500 teams and 40 countries are expected to take part in the three-day event at Disney World from April 23 to 25.
Ranked tenth in the world, the Trailblazer Allstars Senior All Girl Level 7 team secured themselves a place in the international competition after successfully competing in the European Cheerleading Championship in Germany.
Jade said: “The Cheerleading Worlds is a much higher level – you’re competing against the best of the best so it’s easy to feel the pressure.
"Last time we competed, we finished tenth out of the 25 teams and it was all about keeping positivity, motivating each other and being confident that our practice sessions prepared us well.”
Jade, who by day works for Derbyshire Building Control Partnership at their Chesterfield office, is a ‘flyer’ with the Trailblazer Allstars.
Flyers are the people you see being lifted or thrown in a stunt and it is a very physically demanding role.
She began her cheerleading journey at Wickersley School and Sports College age 14.
She said: “I got into cheerleading in the first place because I love learning new skills and the adrenaline rush of competing, but my favourite part of cheerleading is working as a team.
"We are a very close group and are all very supportive of each other, always pushing ourselves to be the best we can be.”
Jade joined DBCP, which is a provider of building control services, last year and she has brought her cheerleading skills into the office.
She said: “In cheerleading we’re constantly communicating with each other to ensure we’re organised and that’s something I try to bring into the office at DBCP.”
The Trailblazer Allstars practice twice a week, with a few extra sessions as they approach competitions, and have their own training regimes to keep fit throughout the year.
Allstar cheerleading is now recognised as a sport and discussions are ongoing about introducing it to the Olympic Games.
Jade added: “For now, Worlds is the highest level we can get to but the ultimate goal, hopefully, will be reaching the Olympics once cheerleading is introduced.”