Sunderland cheerleaders shine at European Championships

Northern Vipers cheerleading club's Senior Co-ed Cheer Team and Junior Stunt Team in Croatia.
Northern Vipers cheerleading club's Senior Co-ed Cheer Team and Junior Stunt Team in Croatia.
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A Sunderland cheerleading squad reached the dizzying heights of success when they competed in the European Championships.

Northern Vipers took a 22-strong team of athletes to Zagreb in Croatia earlier this month to compete against cheerleaders from all over Europe.

Northern Vipers cheerleading club's Senior Co-ed Cheer team.

Northern Vipers cheerleading club's Senior Co-ed Cheer team.

The club, which trains at Grindon Hall Christian School, saw all their hard work pay off when its Junior Stunt Team became European Champions when they took first place, while its Senior Co-ed Team came second.

Proud coach and club owner Liam Heslop, 33, from Rhyope was delighted with the result.

He said: “We have competed in the championships before but haven’t done as well as we did this year.

“This is the most successful year yet for the team and everyone is really pleased.

“We had a bit of a nightmare with the music, as it went off about 15 seconds into the cheer routine.

“We ended up having the audience counting us through, so to come second after that disaster was amazing.

“We hope to qualify again next year.”

In the competition, the squad’s junior team was made up of members aged 13 to 16 years old, while the senior team was made up of members aged 16 plus.

The Junior Stunt Team stormed to the top of the rankings with their routine combining a range of stunts to a backing track lasting one minute and 15 seconds.

While the cheer team wowed the crowds with an impressive sequence of stunts, tumbles, pyramids and dance.

Now the club hopes to qualify to take part in the World Championships in Florida 2019.

Mr Heslop, a PE and art teacher at Mortimer Community College, added: “The club had been running for around seven years and this was our third European Championships.

“It started off with just five people doing stunt performances and over the last few years we have just developed.

“Now we have 40 to 50 members.”

Anyone who is interested in joining is asked to email: northernvipers@gmail.com