Curro learners somersault their way to International Cheerleading Tournament in USA
Twelve learners from Curro Aurora, in Randburg Johannesburg, will be traveling to sunny Orlando, Florida next year, to represent South Africa at the 2023 International Cheerleading Union (ICU) Championships.
Nine current learners were chosen to represent each of the national team categories, with Austin Jansen Van Rensburg, Cassidy Steenveld, Livhuwani Damari, Rinawe Mainganya, Staci Barrett, and Tyra Carlinsky chosen to represent the Junior Co-ed team. A further three learners were picked for the Junior Co-ed (15 to 18) division, including Keira Du Plessis, Tae Jansen Van Rensburg, and Zoe Lehman.
The final three were chosen from the Curro Aurora Alumni pool and include Kelly Du Plessis, Keira Montile, and Nicole Krause, who were picked for the Senior All Girl (16 plus) division.
The group’s fantastic achievement comes after all the learners triumphed in both the local and national cheerleading leagues, held in Randburg last month. Organised by the South African Majorettes and Cheerleading Association (SAMCA), the intensive two-day selection process tests the fitness levels of cheerleaders across the country, grading them on their tumbling, single base, and multi-base stunts, tosses, and pyramids.
“We are exceptionally proud of the Curro Aurora team for their phenomenal achievement. Competitive cheerleading is a demanding team sport that requires many hours of hard work and dedication all year round to reach the level of fitness and technical skill required to perform in the top leagues. Huge credit must go to the hard-working learners, coaches, and supportive cheerleading parents, who have helped the learners come so far,” said JC Engelbrecht, Executive Head at Curro Aurora.
This is not the first-time learners from the school will compete in the tournament. In 2019, the school team was represented by five Protea cheerleaders, including Livhuwani Damari, and Nicole Krause, who will compete again in 2023.
“When I joined cheerleading, I wasn’t sure what to expect but after that first season, it felt like the sport was tailor-made for me. I have made so many friends and learned so much. You simply cannot compare cheerleading to any other sport, and I am forever grateful to be able to represent my country,” says Grade 10 learner, Livhuwani Damari.
Cheering on South Africa
Originating in the western state of Minnesota, cheerleading has often been considered an American sport. However, thanks to predominantly Hollywood movies, its popularity has gained momentum, with the International Olympic Committee making it an official event at the 2028 games.
South Africans have been enjoying competitive cheerleading from as far back as 1998, and a national team has been represented at the ICU tournament since 2011. In the 2019 tournament, which brought together cheerleaders from 95 countries around the world, Team South Africa Co-ed came out in 5th place, with Team South Africa Junior 6th, and Team South Africa All Girls 11th.
“Curro Aurora has been developing and investing in cheerleading since 2017 when the decision was taken to offer it as an official primary and high school sport. Since then, we have seen the number of learners wanting to take up cheerleading increase every single year, and their talent and commitment mean we consistently enjoy success in provincial tournaments. Our motto, ‘cheer your heart out’, is reflected by all the those that got selected for the national team,” said Steve Krause, Cheerleading Manager at Curro Aurora.
The chosen learners will now join 64 other cheerleaders, to make up South Africa’s national cheerleading teams, and will be required to participate in national team training sessions in the run-up to the tournament. The cheerleading teams captains selection is expected to be made later this year.