PACE cheerleaders bring it on a provincials

Jodi Schellenberg
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Although many people may not have heard of Prince Albert Cheer Explosion (PACE), they are taking the province by storm.

PACE recently placed first in their division at the Saskatchewan Cheerleading Association provincials on March 29.

The cheerleading team, which started out as the PACI Golden Bears, is now an all-star team in order to include girls between 10 and 18 from all schools in the city.

“There were 35 to 40 teams there and different divisions (and) different age groups,” coach Sandra Horne said. “We were the Senior Level 1 All-Star Provincial Champs.”

“There are a variety of different elements that are required in their routines” she added. “They have to do jumps, tumbling, stunts, dance, choreography and they get scored on all of it for their big marks to see where they place. There are different elements they have to incorporate.”

During the competition, the girls did very well, Horne said.

Mckenna Miller and Jaeda Thurber, who are both first year cheerleaders and 12 years old, enjoyed their first provincial meet.

“(We) feel really good about it because we worked really hard and I think our hard work paid off,” Miller said.

Senior cheerleader Ina Chokani was proud to see what they could accomplish this year, especially with so many girls on the team who have never participated in the sport before.

“I think the girls have come a really long way for the seven months we have been practising,” Chokani said. “I think we did really good because they are mostly first years on the team.”

Chokani has been on the team since it started up five years ago.

“The coach is my mom’s best friend and she told me about it, that she was getting a team in P.A. so I decided I would try it out and I liked it,” Chokani said. “It just brings everyone together like a family and it is a team sport. It brings up confidence for girls and everything.”

Being part of the team has been a great experience for Chokani and she encourages others to get involved.

“They should come out and try it. If it is not their sport, then that is OK,” Chokani said. “You don’t really need experience to be on the team. They help you with everything.”

She also enjoys competitions because they meet other cheerleading teams and make new friends.

“I think it is a really good experience to do,” Chokani said. “I am really proud of the girls this year. They did really well.”

Miller and Thurber just joined last fall and have enjoyed the experience.

“The reason I decided to be a cheerleader is because I was planning to go into dance and this sounded much cooler than dance,” Miller said.

“I decided to go into cheerleading because Mckenna told me about it and I thought it would be a really good experience,” Thurber added.

Not only is it fun, it gets them active as well.

“It kind of gives me my weekly exercise and it is really good,” Miller said. “All the people there are so nice and it is just a really good experience.”

This year will be Chokani’s last year because she turned 19 this year. Although she would like to stay with PACE because they are “like family,” she is looking at other options just in case.

“Hopefully we might start a team for 17 and up next year but we’re not too sure about that yet,” Chokani said. “I’m at the U of S so maybe I will try out for that team.”

The road trips are a lot of fun for the team, Horne said.

“They have put in seven months of hard work and getting the routine done so the travel weekends they seem to enjoy,” Horne said. “We try to do different things -- bowling, movies, swimming, water sliding, just to (give them) a reward because they have done all of their work.”

The competitions can get quite large because there are so many different divisions and age groups competing.

PACE competes in Level 1, but there are six different levels based on what types of stunts and tumbling they are allowed to do, Horne said.

The last meet of the year will be April 11-13 in Edmonton, she said, with about 180 teams competing.

Horne said most of the girls seem excited for the trip.

“It is out of town and they are taking a bus and are all excited to go,” Horne said. “Some of our parents and siblings are coming with us. It should be fun.”

The trip will be a great experience for all the cheerleaders, Chokani said.

“I think the girls are really intimidated but it going to be really good,” Chokani said.

Miller echoed Chokani’s thoughts, but said they are also excited.

“This next competition, I’m kind of nervous because I want to end our last competition on a good note,” Miller said. “We are very excited because there is going to be a lot of people there and this is a good last tournament to end this year.”

They are up against some stiff competition, Miller said, including 18 year olds since they are competing in the All-Star category.

“It is pretty hard, but I think if we work hard enough that we can beat those 18 year olds,” Miller said.

Horne said they have seven first-year cheerleaders on their 13-person team.

The Edmonton competition will be the last one of the season until PACE starts up again in the fall.

“This year, we started registration in August and we had our choreography camp, cheer camp, in October,” Horne said. “They start usually in August/September, start their choreography in October and compete February, March and April.”

Anyone who would like more information about PACE can visit the website

“People can go on the website, take a look at the girls who are involved and some pictures and information about cheerleading,” Horne said. “My email address is also on there if they have any questions.”

Organizations: Saskatchewan Cheerleading Association

Geographic location: P.A., Edmonton

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