The Cheerleading Worlds 2017 Recap

The Cheerleading Worlds 2017 was nothing short of an amazing showcase of talent. The 2016-2017 as a whole was a constant reminder of how much this sport has evolved over the past few years. Each Cheerleading Worlds is special for its own reason – and this year – we had the pleasure of watching teams we’ve closely followed all year go head-to-head and give it all they got one more time.

There were hundreds of notable moments, but we boiled it down to what we found most special. Here are the moments that made The Cheerleading Worlds 2017 unforgettable.

1. An Insane Semi-Finals

Semi-finals in the hp Field House was LIT this year with some iconic back-to-back performances. The arena was filled to the brim for California All Stars Lady Bullets and Twist & Shout Diamonds. Lady Bullets, a regular fan favorite, and Twist & Shout Diamonds, one of the season’s most popular teams, gave the crowd everything they needed and more with two hit performances.

Later on, Brandon Senior Black and Cheer Extreme SSX went back-to-back for a little reigning World Champion reunion party. Both teams also HIT and sent the arena OFF. It’s moments like these that make you fall in love with cheerleading all over again.

But, we will say that the arena went absolutely insane for two teams in particular. Top Gun Large Coed hit a perfect routine in the morning session and World Cup Shoot Stars absolutely killed it in the evening session. There aren’t words to describe the amount of energy both those teams brought to the stage.

World Cup Shooting Stars Semi-Finals

Top Gun Large Coed Semi – Finals

2. Hitting Was Winning

~Trend Alert~ hitting teams WON BIG this year. In order to land in that top spot, a flawless, deduction-free routine was absolutely, 100% necessary. We saw quite a few upsets this year (which we’ll touch on later) and the hitting teams were able to wiggle their way to the top – deservingly so.

Stingray All Stars Steel and ICE Lady Lightning were among the few teams to hit in their divisions and they shot up right to first place.

It’s nice to see hitting teams winning over routines with deductions. In our opinion, if you have a major deduction, you shouldn’t win Worlds. And it also mimics a similar opinion we shared earlier this season on Why Hitting is More Important Than Winning. And of course, in this case, hitting AND winning was the ideal situation.

ICE Lady Lightning Finals

3. Predictions Were Garbage and Cheerleading is Unpredictable Per Usual

Cheerleading will be forever unpredictable, and honestly, it’s because there are so many moving parts. Anything can go wrong and one missed place foot or a weird roundoff can cause a deduction. Like many others, we made predictions, and they went about as expected – not great.

As we mentioned in the previous point, hitting was winning and some of the most popular and top-seeded teams had mistakes that cost ultimately caused them their top spot. Which is sad for them and our predictions, but serendipitous for the everyone else. But that’s cheerleading, and every other competition-like event out there.

For me, I think Stingray All Stars Steel surprised me the most. The large coed division was dominated by TGLC all year and they seemed a bit untouchable. Steel had an amazing routine all season long, but little mistakes cost them the top spot at several major competitions. Steel’s finals performance was everything and more. I’ve never seen them look so clean and sharp and it paid off big time.

Stingray All Stars Steel Finals Performance

4. Upsets!

Speaking of upsets, it’s hard not to talk about how many of the fan-favorite, dominating teams this year didn’t end up in the top spot.

For example, all three teams who won Varsity’s Triple Crown (TGLC, Orange, Peach) and other noteworthy teams like Generals, and Twist & Shout diamonds had minor mistakes in finals that cost them the top spots. At a high caliber competition like Worlds, there isn’t a lot of room for mistakes. And in cheerleading, there is a lot of room for mistakes.

People love to talk about how cheerleading is unpredictable and it’s true. But it’s also not a secret as to WHY it’s unpredictable. It’s not like any team came out of left field to win Worlds this year. They were all deserving, talented teams who did well all season. If you’re paying close enough attention, nothing should have surprised you.

This also seems like an appropriate time to bring up that you shouldn’t define your team’s (or another team’s success) by one competition, even Worlds. A successful season can and should be defined a hundred different ways, and all of the teams listed in this section (among others) had amazing performances all season.

5. A Year of Firsts

It was a year of firsts for a handful of gyms and we had a frontrow seat to history.

  • Central Jersey All Stars won their first medal ever and watching their coaches’ reaction when they realized they were going to globe was priceless.
  • Pirates Athletics Golden Guns from Canada won their first Worlds medal as well in the international open small coed 5 division.
  • KC Cheer won their first Worlds medal in the small senior coed 5 division.
  • Gothenburg Cheer One won their first Worlds medal in the International Open 6 division.
  • East Celebrity Elite won their first World Championship title in the medium senior 5 division.
  • Stingray All Stars won their first World Championship title in the large senior coed 5 division.
  • Cheer Extreme won their first medal in the medium senior coed division with CEA SMOEX.

6. Worlds was International – go figure

This year, we saw many international teams take home gold, silver, and bronze medals. For a competition touted as the ultimate WORLD competition, we don’t always see international teams in the top spots. But this year, we saw several teams not only take home a second or third place win, but also a World Champion title.

  • Flyers All Starz Knockout (Canada) – Gold – IO5
  • CheerSport Great White Sharks (Canada) – Silver – IO5
  • Pirates Athletics Golden Gun (Canada) – Silver- IOSC5
  • Flyers All Starz Karma (Canada) – Silver – IO6
  • Gothenburg Cheer One Wildcats (Sweden) – Bronze – IO6
  • Southern Cross Cheerleading Legacy (Australia) – Bronze – IOLC6

Flyers All Starz Knockout Finals

7. Deserving Winners

As I mentioned in point #2, hitting teams won. In every division, I personally felt that each of the winners was deserving of their top spots. And there were a couple performances that brought the crowds to their feet and tears to their eyes.

CheerForce Nfinity headed into finals in third place hungry for the top spot. Shortly after beginning their routine, an athlete was injured and an alternate was put in her place. They came out even stronger in their second finals performance and ended up taking home first place in one of the toughest divisions. It’s moments like these that you fall in love with this sport all over again.

California Black Ops had an incredible season leading up to Worlds. They had a nearly deduction free season with many notable performances from the beginning of the season all the way to the end. Their finals performance was one of those electrifying routines that will go down in history as one of the best ever. In my opinion, they were the only team that was “supposed to win” Worlds that actually did.

8. A Dog Melted Our Hearts

And last but not least, a dog competed with a special needs teams and it melted everyone on the internet’s hearts.