Skip to content

Competing on world stage a dream come true for Port Coquitlam-based cheer team

Positive teamwork has instilled confidence in the Vancouver All-Stars ahead of 2023 world junior championships.

Katie Brown is staying focused ahead of walking onto the biggest stage of her young career.

But much like her Vancouver All-Stars Cheer (VAS) teammates, the thought of fulfilling a life's dream to represent Canada in the sport they love is starting to settle in.

Brown is one of 11 VAS cheerleaders from the Port Coquitlam-based organization that's heading to Orlando, Fla., for the 2023 International Cheer Union (ICU) Junior World Championships.

They —  along with 16 other members from across B.C. — qualified for the championships after successfully submitting a video showcase of their talents in December.

Canada will be one of more than 30 nations sending a team to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, not far from Disney World.

"It's been something that, whenever I watched it when I was younger, I've always dreamt to be them and be on that floor doing what they're doing," Brown, 14, told the Tri-City News.

Brown is a back spotter for Canada. She helps teammate Trinity Tompkins soar to new heights — quite literally.

Tompkins is a 12-year-old flyer.

She said the position is not as scary as it might sound, especially when you're dedicated to the craft.

"It comes with a lot of practice. Once you get used to it, it gets pretty easy."

Natural chemistry

The VAS athletes have been able to easily establish a bond with their provincial counterparts that form Youth Team Canada.

BC Sport Cheer president Krista Gerlich-Fitzgerald said it's thrilling to be part of the first team from the province in that category to compete at the world championships.

And while the athletes' goal is to beat the best and bring home a trophy, Gerlich-Fitzgerald believes "hitting zero" — recording no errors — and performing the best version of their routine will be a big accomplishment, too.

For Addison Dew, a 15-year-old VAS main base, she's grateful for the chemistry that's flourished among the Canadian squad members and believes it will provide them with a big edge over the competition.

"I think we bring a lot of enthusiasm to what we're doing because we all understand that it's a really great opportunity," she said. 

"We didn't all grow up together through cheer. We just met each other this year, but we've grown so close together."

"I think we could bring a lot of positivity," added Brown.

No program, no opportunity

Cheerleading is a sport that often starts from a young age, and then becomes a lower priority as a result of other life interests or goals.

VAS has athletes that range from kids to adults, some in their 30s with national senior-squad possibilities.

For Brown, Dew and Tompkins, their hard work is about to pay off by facing off against the world's best. They agree this wouldn't be the case without their coaches and families to encourage them along the way.

"I think it's a really great opportunity for us since we're [still] so young in our sport," Dew said. 

"I think it's like an honour to get to go represent our country," she added. "I've made a lot of friends through the sport. It's been really good for like my mental health and athleticism."

VAS has been established in Port Coquitlam's G Force Gym (2110-550 Sherling Pl.) for more than two decades.

Its cheerleaders that'll be on the floor in Orlando for the 2023 ICU Junior World Championships, April 19 to 21, include (in alphabetical order):

  • Eden Baldwin
  • Rylynn Bergson-Gonzales
  • Katie Brown
  • Taylor-Lynn Buckman
  • Addison Dew
  • Echo Fee
  • Kennedy Krause
  • Kristina Pavan
  • McKenzie Sexton
  • Taliah Sherritt
  • Trinity Tompkins
  • Mary-Jane Webster

For more information, you can visit the Vancouver All-Stars Cheerleading and BC Sport Cheer websites.

You can find livestreaming options of the world championships via the ICU's website.