From left: Lilyah Richardson, Kennedi Knight, and Kendall Weiss are heading to Costa Rica Oct. 14 to compete in the 2019 ICU Pan American Championships Oct. 19 and 20. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
Three MCHS students are off to San José, Costa Rica this month to compete in the 2019 ICU Pan American Championships Oct. 19 and 20. Lilyah Richardson, Kennedi Knight, and Kendall Weiss are all part of Edmonton-based Perfect Storm Athletics, an all-star cheerleading program.
“As a team, we were on a team called F5, which was a restricted [co-ed] 5 level,” explained Lilyah Richardson. “Our coaches applied to the Junior Team Canada, and we got selected by Team Canada to represent Canada at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Costa Rica.”
Richardson, 16, has been in cheer for five years, Knight, 15, for nine years, and Weiss, 16, for four years.
“I really like the bonds that you make and the friendships that literally last forever,” Richardson said of her love for being in the sport.
Knight said she finds cheer provides fun and the ability to learn new things. “It gives me a really cool talent to show off,” she said.
“It’s just something about the team aspect. We’re all competing for the same thing. We all want to win. We’re being the best we can together,” Weiss said.
At the 2019 ICU Pan American Championships, the MCHS students and their fellow Team Canada members will compete against teams from North, South and Central America.
“Gyms across Canada send in videos of just the skills. And then they’ll select the top three to make a whole routine and submit that for them to choose which one they want,” Knight explained. Their Junior Team Canada group is made up of all Perfect Storm members.
The athletes have been training for the Pan American Games every Saturday and Monday to prepare for the event. As the departure date draws closer, they have added a Thursday practice as well.
“We make sure we get the most work in as possible, and just get the best we can get,” Knight said.
Knight and Weiss previously competed for Team Canada in 2018 and return from Florida with a silver medal for Junior Team Canada at the ICU Cheerleading and Dance Worlds Championship. For Richardson, the upcoming trip is her first competition with Junior Team Canada.
“It’s really nerve-racking because the majority of our team has already experienced being a Team Canada representative,” Richardson said. “I feel like I have to hold myself to a higher standard to be as good as everyone else. They already know what competing on a floor representing Canada feels like. I don’t yet.”
Although the MCHS students have 18 years of cheerleading experience between them, none of the students are part of MCHS teams due to conflict of interest rules within the sport.
The 2019 ICU Pan American Championships Oct. 19 and 20. Morinville News will provide the results as they are available.