A local pom team recently hit the international stage, representing the province and the country at the world championships.

The Maples Collegiate pom team finished in fourth place, representing Manitoba and Canada, at the 2019 World School Performance Cheer Championships in Orlando last month. They competed against teams from 116 countries.

“It was really good, really nice,” said Teisha Linklater, grade 12 student and Maples Collegiate pom team member. “It was a new experience, an experience I’ll keep with me for a lifetime".

Pom is a form of cheerleading that is ground-bound with fast paced dance movements and usually includes pompoms.

The students spend countless hours every day working as a team to improve and perfect their routines.

“It definitely takes a lot of work,” said Isabella Linklater, grade 12 student and Maples Collegiate pom team member. “People kind of think it's a lot of easy work, and that we’re just dancing but it's actually a lot more than that. We do a lot of training, jumps, turns and stuff like that”.

Maples collegiate earned their spot at the world championship by winning provincial championships in 2017 and 2018.

The team was awarded a partially paid bid by the Manitoba Association of Cheerleading and International Cheer Union to support them on their trip to worlds.

“I think for me as an educator, working with students and knowing that not every family has the opportunity to take their children to a place like Disney World, having an opportunity like this is once in a lifetime and a really special blessing," said Kelcie Terrick, coach of the Maples collegiate pom team.

The competition was held at the ESPN World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

"It was life changing, I never would have thought that starting off a team six years ago with just six people, me being one of them, we would end up getting the chance to compete against 116 nations in Florida," said Alyssa Panesa, coach of the Maples collegiate pom team.

The Maples pom team is back to training now and already looking ahead to next year’s competition.

They are the first pom team in the province to compete on the world stage.