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World Cheerleading Championships success for Lewis

10 June 2024


After discovering his passion for cheerleading while studying at Teesside University, Lewis Pennicott has been named a World Cheerleading Champion.

Lewis Pennicott
Lewis Pennicott

Lewis and the rest of the Unity Allstars Black team travelled to Orlando, Florida to compete alongside 500 squads and 11,000 athletes at the World Cheerleading Championships.

Unity Allstars won in three categories, including the International Open Coed Non Tumbling – Level 7 division, making 33-year-old Lewis part of the only UK programme to win at the international competition.

Lewis, from Stockton-on-Tees, said: “It still doesn’t feel real to say I’m a world champion – it’s just incredible.

“Just 31 teams were crowned world champions, and to be a part of that history is something I’ll cherish forever.

“We competed twice with the top teams from each country. In the finals, we ‘hit zero’, meaning we had no deductions from the judges. You can’t beat that feeling.

“It’s been ten years in the making, from first trying cheerleading in the Olympia building at Teesside University to the World Championships with one of the best teams in the world.”

He added: “It’s been a journey for sure. Unity Allstars are based in South London, so there’s been a lot of travel involved to get to training each week. I’ve travelled over 31,000 miles since September, which is more than once around the entire globe.”

Lewis discovered his passion for cheerleading when he joined the Teesside University squad, the Teesside Wildcats, while studying Product Design and playing in the American Football team.

Starting cheerleading at university definitely sparked a hunger and desire to push myself and try higher level cheerleading.

Lewis Pennicott

He was encouraged by girlfriend-turned-wife Laura Pennicott, who chaired the Wildcats at the time.

Lewis added: “I started going along to the training sessions. It looked like fun, so I started getting involved and joining in. Eventually, I started competing with them at their competitions.

“Starting cheerleading at university definitely sparked a hunger and desire to push myself and try higher level cheerleading.”

After graduating from Teesside University, Lewis and Laura, who have two children together, set up their own cheerleading team in the North East.

The couple took Evolution Athletics to the World Championships in 2023, which Lewis said was a great personal achievement for both of them.

“Winning at the World Championships the year after we took Evolution Athletics was made even better having Laura and our two children out there to watch as well. Core memories were made for sure,” said Lewis.

“You can’t do any better than being a world champion, so I feel like I’m finishing on the highest possible note. We might go back and watch, but, for now, I’m hanging up my cheer shoes and enjoying my work as Marketing Director at Cleveland Group.”

The World Cheerleading Championships took place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Walt Disney World Resort between 26-29 April 2024.

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