Cheerleader on top of the world at UVic
Okotoks: Foothills grad part of winning Vikes squad
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 06:00 am
A former Foothills Falcon cheerleader might be standing at the bottom of a pyramid, but she’s sitting on top of the world.
Taylor Dawn, a former captain of the Falcons squad, was a member of the University of Victoria Vikes Co-ed Cheer Club which won its division at the University World Cup Cheerleading Competition at Disney World in Orlando, Fla Jan. 12-14.
“I am a third,” the 2013 Foothills alumnus said. “I help lift people up in the air and toss people so they can do the crazy parts. Then I help with catching them so they don’t crash.”
The UVic squad wowed the judges during its 2:30-minute performance.
Teams are judged on how clean the routine is, tumbling, stunts, basket-catches, pyramid, cheer and most importantly, safety.
UVic got a thumb’s up for safety, and Dawn was a pillar of strength on the squad.
“I hit my personal goal which is zero deductions for my stunts — there were no safety deductions which was the best,” she said.
Some of the stunts include Arabian basket catches and a Swedish Falls pyramid, both of which Dawn is one of the Vikes responsible for catching a teammate.
“The toughest for me is a rewind,” Dawn said. “You start from the ground, then you toss your flyer up and she does a back tuck and then you catch her standing.”
Dawn is one of three women catching the flying Vike.
“As a third, safety is my number one job,” she said.
The Vikes earned the invite to Orlando after winning the Sea to Sky competition in Vancouver in 2017.
The top category at the Orlando university championships went to the University of Kentucky Wildcats. They won the title for the 23rd time, the ‘Cats will compete at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
“The United States was where cheerleading was invented and cheering for schools is what it is for,” she said. “They were amazing.”
Dawn got her cheerleading start as a student at Okotoks Junior High School under the tutelage of teacher Stephanie Mathieson, who was on the first Highwood Mustangs squad in High River back in the day.
Dawn was a co-captain of the Falcons squad her Grade 12 year along with Laurel Wayne-Nixon and Jessie Cobb and current Foothills cheer coach Magda Carlson.
She was on the cheer team for all three of her high school years at the Comp.
Dawn, who is majoring in gender studies and Hispanics, will graduate from UVic this year, got interested in the squad because Wayne-Nixon was already on the team when she arrived five years ago.
“Cheer was one of the big reasons that I chose UVic,” the veteran Dawn said.
“They have only had cheerleading for seven years and I have been on it for five... It’s definitely a lot more intense and way higher difficulty skills than high school.”
She doesn’t have any set plans after graduating later this year, but Dawn isn’t sure whether she is quite done with cheer yet.
“I don’t know whether I will be in Calgary, Okotoks or stay out in the west coast,” Dawn said. “I would absolutely love to help coach... Maybe even coach the Falcons.”