After weeks of preparation, the Lake City Falcons Cheerleading Team made its official debut this week in Williams Lake.
The Falcons presented their cheer routines — much to the delight of fans and players — while supporting their school’s senior girls soccer team as they hosted the North Central Zone Championships from Sunday through Tuesday in Williams Lake.
Cheerleading team coach and Williams Lake resident Sydney Goward, a former member of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Cheerleading Team in Kamloops, has been leading the squad since she was approached in March and asked about rounding up a team.
“The girls have been working extremely hard,” Goward said. “Since they contacted me it’s been a totally student-led initiative and we’ve got 16 girls permanently on the team right now … normally we have three base groups of flyers going.”
Sunday marked the first time the team had been out in front of a crowd, with team members performing cheers — accompanied with acrobatics during a half-time show — in support of their peers at the soccer tournament.
“We’ve been practicing twice a week, and it’s been a lot of work, but they’re definitely putting in the effort.”
Goward, for her part, was a flier with the WolfPack for one season and, while working on completing her education at the school, came back to help out the team at various school events, drop-in events and to cheer with the all-star cheer team. She also has experience coaching with Williams Lake Youth Soccer.
She’s also being joined by Williams Lake’s Giulianna Durfeld — the current captain of the WolfPack cheerleading team — to help coach, along with leadership teacher and coach Ryan Hanley.
“I thought I was retired and out of it but the girls have been passionate about it so I’m kind of helping them with all the cheer basics and getting started,” Goward said.
“It’s been great. [With Giulianna] — she will bring a lot of experience to the team, as well, and Ryan is a key element to our coaching team.”
Goward and Hanley are currently in the process of acquiring their coaching credentials through the B.C. Cheerleading Association and are, until then, limited as to what stunts/competitions they can do.
Goward said so far team members have been a pleasure to coach, and added it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience so far.
“I love volunteering and I love working with youth so it’s been hitting all my high spots there, and it’s been super satisfying now that we’ve got our team uniforms,” she said. “To see the girls coming back every week to practice has been so rewarding. The girls are enjoying themselves a lot, they’ve all got huge smiles and we’re all really excited to watch the program develop in the school.”
For now, Goward said the team is looking to get in as much practice while performing in the public eye as possible.
Following the Falcons’ soccer season, she said the team is looking forward to get on board with other sports at the school, and even participate in community events.
“We’re hoping to be involved in the community at whatever events come up over the summer,” she said. “Wherever we can we will be there, and for now we’re just trying to work with the otter coaches at the school and get the girls out as much as possible because the girls are super keen.”
Cheerleading team members are: Coach Sydney Goward, coach Ryan Hanley, coach Giulianna Durfeld, and members Hannah Chestnut, Cassidy Wight, Jessica Rauchensteiner, Phyllisia Jeff, Evynne Penno, Courtney Mowery, Morgan Mowery, Pheonix Sim, Dallas Moe, Allysia Irawan, Catherine Arthur, Jada Jean, Angel Mitchell, Kenzi Johnson, captain Tyra States and Nicole Pantanetti.