Ella Haffner, a cheerleader from Strathmore, has been on a recent winning streak with her cheerleading team.
Haffner, who cheers for team Heat Wave at Perfect Storm Athletics (PSA), has been doing cheer for five years.
Recently, the team competed in the Imagine Competition at Winsport in Calgary, a two-day competition where they “hit zero” on day two and won first place.
“Hitting zero” is cheerleading lingo that means that no mistakes were made during the performance. It is considered a perfect score.
Haffner's cheer position with the team is a back spot, and she explains the significance of that role with the team.
“Basically, I am at the back of every stunt because I am tall. Back spots have a lot of skill because we cannot let go when holding someone. No matter how high up they go, you need to be able to reach them, or it is considered illegal in the sport, and you will get points knocked off your overall score."
Haffner had to join a cheer team in Calgary despite living in Strathmore because there isn’t a cheer team in the town.
There used to be a cheerleading team in Strathmore that Haffner was a part of, but after COVID shutdowns, it never started back up again.
PSA Heat Wave was a team recommended by one of Haffner's old coaches, and so far, she has been loving her experience with the team.
“What I love most about cheer is that it really calms me. It's good for me to get my stress out, and I love competing with my team. They are so supportive and nice to be around,” Haffner said.
Haffner and her cheer team will be heading to the True North competition in Edmonton in March, then, after that, to Vancouver for a competition in April.
She hopes that during the upcoming competitions, the team will hit zero again.
“My team is pretty competitive. We always want to win. We don't really like to do anything but win. My coaches are tough, but that's what makes us a good team."
Haffner offered advice for anyone interested in joining a cheer team.
“You should join, but just make sure you find the right cheer gym for you. If you are super competitive, join a gym that's big on winning. But if you want to do it more for fun, make sure you find a gym that doesn't put a lot of pressure on you to win,” she said.
Haffner has many big plans for her future in cheer. She one day hopes to be on the World’s Cheer Team, compete in the Summit, and travel the world with her team.
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