Wolmer’s Prep to host hundreds at V8 Splash Primary, Prep Cheer-Off

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March 9, 2020

The Wolmer’s Boys’ School Auditorium will become cacophony of cheerful expressions this Saturday when Wolmer’s Preparatory School’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) hosts its first-ever V8 Splash Primary and Prep Schools Cheer-Off.

A pre-qualifying cheerleading competition, the Wolmer’s Prep PTA aims to make it an annual affair, serving as an eliminator for the local cheerleading finals usually held yearly in July.

Over 2,500 athletes from primary and prep schools in and around the Corporate Area are set to participate in the event, which the institution will host in association with title sponsors V8 Splash and Jamaica Fitness Association (JAMFIT).

“The Wolmer’s Preparatory School’s PTA is excited to be a part of the Jamaica Fitness Association [JAMFIT] Cheerleading Club. We believe that a healthy and active lifestyle should begin in the early years and that cheerleading is one of those sporting events that will provide our nation’s children with the opportunity to become fit, learn more about team building, while at the same time having fun,” shared Lisa Rennalls, PTA president, Wolmer’s Prep School.

“Cheerleading is competitive within the schools and amongst high schools in Jamaica. This is Wolmer’s Prep School’s first time entering the competition at the local stage, while there have been several primary and prep schools that have participated at the national level in Jamaica and have made representation at the world stage,” Rennalls added.

“Auditions have been held in order to select the best team members possible. Within the team there is also a competition to see who the centre stunt group will be.”

Ryan Foster, Wolmer’s Prep School board chairman, also spoke to the competition’s value.

He said: “Cheerleading is a vibrant sport and we see this as another avenue for all schools participating in the competition to not only be competitive, but a way of grooming the next generation in the importance of competition in a friendly, fair and transparent environment.

“I am pleased with Wolmer’s Prep PTA in leading this process and I expect to have a successful competition,” added Foster, who is also secretary general/chief executive officer of the country’s apex body for sports, the Jamaica Olympic Association.

Rennals further stated Wolmer’s Prep’s long-term goal of facilitating the development of cheer athletes for the world stage at ‘Worlds’, and now the Olympic Games, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) bestowed recognition on cheerleading as a sport, which will debut at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles, California.

Karelle Jones, president of the Jamaica Cheerleading Club and a director of JAMFIT, informed of the sport’s growth in Jamaica and the strong position it now holds on the global platform.

Jones said: “Cheerleading has become a tremendously popular sport in Jamaica. We started out in 2003 with only six high schools, growing now to 60 high schools, 30 primary/prep schools, 20 tertiary and all-star teams islandwide.

“Also, with cheerleading now an Olympic sport we have received international acclaim — ranking eighth in the world in overseas competitions and hosting both international and Caribbean cheerleading events here in Jamaica,” she added.

Currently, there is a local competition in which the best teams in the island compete, at which the victor gets to compete at national competitions in which teams go up against the best in the United States and ‘Worlds’. Of course, the World Championship is where the best teams in the world compete against each other, and having some of those teams compete here is an indication of the strength and quality of local tournaments.

“Cheerleading is seen as another avenue to give our local athletes more opportunities to become better cheerleaders, bring additional funding to the schools [from competition prizes etc], make teams do better, bring more trophies and respect to our schools. It also serves as a potential avenue for scholarships. We believe if athletes are taught the proper techniques at the junior level this will help them to be better athletes,” Rennalls reasoned.

“It is hoped that more schools at the primary level [will] see the importance of cheerleading as another sport and come on board in support of this venture,” she added. “We are looking at making representation at the world stage and at the 2028 Olympics, and [we] know that if we work together we will become known not only as a country for producing sprint athletes, reggae music and netball, but another force to be reckoned with in cheerleading.”