A CLYDEBANK cheerleading group have lots to cheer about after winning Scotland’s first gold medal at the world championships in Florida recently.

Senior Black, a competitive team based at Champion Dance and Cheer in Whitecrook, danced their way to the top position at the Cheerleading and Dance World Championships at the Magic Kingdom last month.

To earn a spot at this prestigious event, groups must firstly win a national championship – and Senior Black did just that in 2019 after being crowned winners at the Scot Cheer National Championship.

After a three-year wait due to the Covid pandemic head coach Lisa Tausney said there were still concerns that it wouldn’t go ahead.

The 40-year-old told the Post: “In January our team were still not allowed to train if they were over the age of 18 due to restrictions, so, to be honest, I think we thought it wasn’t going to happen.

“Then when competitions and events started being allowed at the beginning of February we panicked thinking we really need to get our head in the game now because this might actually happen after three years.”

Senior Black have been competing at the world championships on and off since 2009 making the wait more than worth it this time round.

Lisa explained that the athletes were extremely excited especially to get their own world championship rings which all winners receive after the competition.

She added: “We’ve been doing so well nationally for so long, so it’s trying to get from being the best in the UK, which is still fantastic.

“There are lots of teams that don’t get the chance to go to the worlds or get to bid to go so the fact they even get to go is amazing.

“But that’s been a dream of ours for a long time.

“All the athletes get a ring, a world championships ring, and that’s what all my kids have been talking about, so the fact they were all getting sized for them was absolutely amazing.”

Reflecting on the experience the Clydebank resident says it still hasn’t “quite sunk in yet” and the athletes are still in shock that they won.

Lisa said she is incredibly proud of her team but looking to the future she wants to keep the momentum going and improve further.

She said: “I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet. I’m just back from America a couple of days myself and I think you want something for long enough and then you get it and you’re so proud of the kids for getting it you kind of think, ‘How do we top that or how do we keep that going?’

“It’s a hard space to be on top, so it’s now just thinking, ‘Right, what do we do next?’ The goal won’t change because that’s the pinnacle of our cheerleading community, the world championships.”

There are currently around 130 athletes training at Champion Cheer and Dance with many travelling from all across the country from places including Edinburgh and Ardrossan to be a part of the team.

Lisa explained that the company operates on an open door policy and that the coaches work with every child that comes through the door, this includes for the competitive teams.

However, members do have to audition to become a part of Senior Black.

Lisa set up Champion Dance and Cheer in 2000 at the age of 18 with no intention to offer cheerleading coaching.

She said: “I was at dance college and I thought I could start a club for children. I always wanted to do dance it wasn’t really my thing to teach but I thought it would be good experience if I ever wanted to fall back on that.

“I posted an advert in the Clydebank Post and 60 kids turned up on the first night which I was not expecting so I was like oh right okay what do I do with them?

“It just kind of turned into a business on its own and ran away with itself.

“When I finished dance college I was always thinking that I was going to London and I remember my dad said to me you know maybe you should think about this because you’ve kind of built yourself a little empire.

“So I didn’t go to London that year and we did our first competition.

“The cheerleading side of it wasn’t something I had ever done but the kids saw it and started asking if we could do that.

“I said if you win what you’re already doing then we can think about it and the following year they went and won all of the dance divisions.”

Lisa had previous experience dancing with the Scottish Claymores but said she felt she didn’t have any proper cheerleading experience so she paid for people to come from Nashville to teach her how to be a cheerleading coach.

She said that the journey from setting up the company in 2000 to now has been a learning experience for both herself and the athletes and that she “wouldn’t do anything else”.