An 11-year-old Haliburton County girl is off to the Allstar World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida this spring.
Addison Kulas is a member of the Valley Sharks team that trains out of Orillia.
The Carnarvon girl, who goes to Archie Stouffer Elementary School, has been cheerleading since the age of seven when her family lived in Uxbridge. Since moving to the Highlands, she has continued to train and compete despite the distance.
Her parents, Nick and Laura Kulas, are her biggest supporters. Nick said competitive cheerleading takes them to Orillia three to four a times a week for training. There are girls from Orillia, Barrie and Muskoka, but Addison is the only Highlander on the 20-person team. She’s also one of the youngest.
Addison is a flyer, so, “they throw her up in the air and catch her,” Nick explains.
Addison dons her uniform and comes out with her cheer bag. She shows off some of the medals she has already won.
“I can do a back hand spring,” she says, and begins demonstrating some of her skills. “I like when they throw me up in the air. And I like tumbling but I don’t like jumps because I can’t get my legs very high.”
Nick said the team qualified for the U17 level two. Cheerleading goes up to level seven. Cheerleaders progress through the ranks as they age and mature. Level seven is Olympian and cheer will be featured for the first-time ever at the Paris games. Already, Addison can do most of the level three requirements and is working on the others.
As part of the championships, in the first week of May, Addison will have the opportunity to train at the Top Gun Gym, one of the premier cheer gyms in North America.
Nick said being part of a team picked for the worlds is a big deal. There are already 2,000 teams going, and 40,000 competitors from 15 countries.
“I’m really excited,” Addison said. “We have a pretty good chance because we got second in our last competition, and in the competition we just did, we were first with the highest score in the whole competition.”
Nick added, “we didn’t really know how big it was until the convenor told us, ‘you should be very proud of your daughter, this is a big deal, an 11-year-old on an U17 team.’
“Girls get college scholarships in the U.S. for cheerleading. Most people think it’s pom poms and football, but it is a mix of tumbling, stunting and dance. You should see the stuff they do, fireworks, big screens, people are like, ‘is this how it is’?”
Laura added, “Addison and her teammates are incredibly proud to have earned a bid to this prestigious event, as it is a massive accomplishment likely realized only once in a lifetime. However, this opportunity comes with a hefty price tag. The Valley Sharks are fundraising to help offset costs associated with their trip, through individual and, or team sponsorships and through a silent auction.”
If interested, contact Valley Sharks fundraising committee head, Shannon, at 1-705-345-0443 or Nick Kulas at nickkulas@ hotmail.com for more information.