Cheerleading is the latest sport to enter the realms of Varsity fame, as the Oxford Sirens took on the Cambridge Cougars last weekend. They competed at the Future Cheer Saturday Night Fever competition in Loughborough where teams from nearly 60 universities participated.
Sirens’ President Susan Hawkins commented, “Our routine went almost perfectly, all our stunts hit, and we were all really proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short space of time – especially as almost every new member of the squad learns cheerleading from scratch in October.”
As well as being judged in the general competition, a special ‘Varsity Trophy’ is to be awarded to either Oxford and Cambridge, who were judged alongside each other.
Victoria Morrish, a member of the Sirens team at Varsity, explained the subsequent complications. She told Cherwell, “This year was the first year we’ve had the opportunity to cheer competitively against Cambridge’s squad, but unfortunately we’re in different divisions. The Cambridge Cougars compete in a level two division, while we compete in level three – the only difference in this is the difficulty of the stunts involved in the routines. Level three is one level ‘harder’ than level two, and unfortunately this has meant we cannot be judged directly against Cambridge.
“However, the judges of Future Cheer (the organisers of the Loughborough competition on Sunday) have agreed to mark us against each other. It’s a shame we cannot compete in a head-to-head match against Cambridge but hopefully in future years this can be arranged at one of our home turfs.”
Both the Oxbridge teams are still relatively young; the Sirens, who are Oxford’s self-proclaimed “Number 1 cheer team”, formed in 2004, whilst the Cougars were set up in 2007. The first ever Varsity match, in cricket, dates from 1827. Since then Varsity matches in more than 70 different events, including life-saving and mixed lacrosse, have been set up.