Hartlepool cheerleaders shine on world stage at competition in Japan

Hartlepool Hawks athletes competed in the World Cheerleading Championships in Japan as part of Team GB.
Hartlepool Hawks athletes competed in the World Cheerleading Championships in Japan as part of Team GB.

A group of Hartlepool cheerleaders enjoyed success as part of Team GB when they competed in the 9th World Cheerleading Championships in Japan.

Five cheerleaders from Hartlepool Hawks Cheerleading Academy embarked on the trip of a lifetime to compete against athletes from across the world in the competition.

The event, which took place on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12, in Takasaki City, featured 18 countries who were all vying to come out on top.

And Team GB made up of Hartlepool athletes Lauren May, 17, Ellie Lewis, 16, Meghan Simpson, 16, Leah Wintersgill, 14, and Ellie Jones, 14, shone on the world stage – with Team GB taking fourth place in the overall rankings.

The junior team and senior teams, which were both made up of 16 athletes from across the country, featured athletes performing three different routines in the competition.

In the run-up to the event, the girls travelled to Manchester to train once a month with the rest of the team.

Proud coach Beccii Taylor said: “Meghan, Ellie and Lauren were on the senior cheer team, while Ellie and Leah were on the junior cheer team. The athletes auditioned for a place on the team this time last year and they found out in January that they had been selected.

“They have been doing training in Manchester once a month along with the athletes from across the country.

“The junior cheer team won silver medals behind the amazing team from Japan.

“Senior cheer were ranked third (bronze) on the Saturday, but after their second performance Sunday Germany scored higher and moved up ranking so Team GB ended up fourth.

“The duets both did really well but neither medalled.”

The competition, which is part of the International Federation of Cheerleading, saw Ellie Jones and Leah take part in the cheer dance doubles in the junior division, while Meghan was chosen to perform in the senior cheer dance team doing the doubles.

Ahead of the competition, Beccii said it was a fantastic opportunity for them.

She said: “I am so proud of the girls for what they have done. They have just taken it in their stride and they are so modest.”

Following the competition Hawks athletes then competed in the Legacy Cheer and Dance Be Visionary competition in Sheffield on November 18, taking home numerous first and second places.