A CHEERLEADING squad from Clydebank have been awarded a precious gold globe after coming first place at a competition in Florida.
Senior Black, the elite pom team of Champion Dance and Cheer (CDC), were crowned the U.S. All Star Federation (USASF) Co-ed Pom World Champions at The Cheerleading Worlds in Orlando on Sunday, April 24.
It is the first time the team have come first place in the competition, which is held annually in Walt Disney World, since they started competing in 2009.
Lisa Tausney, head coach and president of the governing body SportCheer Scotland, says she is still in "disbelief" at the win.
She said: "We’ve been travelling to the worlds with this team every few years, obviously we can’t afford to do it every year, since 2009.
"Two of the girls that coach the team with me now, Stacy and Jennifer Greer, they both were originally members of the team so this has been something that we’ve dreamed about forever so it’s amazing for it actually to happen.
"The highest place we’ve ever placed was fourth and we’ve always just really wanted to get a globe, which comes in gold silver and bronze.
"We’ve been trying to get one of these globes for years so the fact that we managed to achieve this with the pandemic and everything else that’s went on we’re just over the moon."
Pom dance is CDC’s speciality and is a mixture of jazz and cheer dance with the use of pom-poms.
The team, which trains twice a week, is made up of 18 members who range in age from 14 to 28.
They beat off competition from all around the world to come first place, including teams from England, Canada and Ecuador in the final.
Lisa, who has been coaching for 22 years, said: "[When they won] there were tears, they were in absolute shock.
"We knew we were sitting in first place on day one at semi-finals and they were really determined going into day two that they kept their position so it was a lot of pressure put on them to try and keep the number one spot, so I think it was just a mixture of relief and years of hard work and they were just elated to win that day."
The team got to celebrate the night after the competition with a private party in Magic Kingdom after it was shut to the public from 10pm to 2am.
Lisa said: "They had a DJ in front of the castle, and all the kids that had competed got to ride the rides without the massive queues.
"It was really fun to go to a private event in Magic Kingdom, there’s not a lot of people that would get the opportunity to ever do it, so it was very magical."
However, as well as competing in the world championships, some of the team had the added pressure of sitting their SQA exams while in Orlando.
Lisa said: "They had to sit their exams under exam conditions at the same time that it would be back in the UK so that means there were kids that had to get up at four in the morning to sit, for example, their Higher Politics.
"They had to go mentally prepared to compete at a world championship and also to still keep up with their studies and make sure they get good results from school so that they don’t miss out.
"I think they coped well, I think that doing a team sport, especially a world championship where we're training more, it just really teaches them time management as they have to study when they get the opportunity or train when they get the opportunity.
"I think it teaches them to juggle lots of balls and they all seem to cope absolutely fine."
Now, the team has its sights set on the 2028 LA Olympics, which is expected to be the first time the competition will host Cheerleading after it was recognised as an Olympic sport in 2021, though they won’t find out until the 2024 games.
Lisa said: "Not every sport gets to actually do the Olympics but the LA games seem like a good call that we will be chosen for because it’s something that they know they can sell out stadiums for.
"I think if it’s ever going to be in the games it will be the LA one considering it’s primarily an American sport."
CDC is Scotland’s premier cheerleading and dance team and they compete both nationally and internationally.