On February 16th, the annual KAIAC (Korean American Interscholastic Activities Conference) Cheerleading Competition was held at Seoul Foreign School.
The KAIAC Cheerleading competition is part of the larger athletic competition held between various international schools in Korea. Among the six different international schools competing, with six Varsity and five Junior Varsity squads, this year’s champion for both Varsity and Junior Varsity was Seoul Foreign School (SFS). Close behind were Korea International School (KIS) and Yongsan International School of Seoul (YISS).
This year’s competition was very intense, with cheerleaders performing extremely high level stunts such as the extension twist cradle and arabesque. Jina Kim, the captain of the KIS Varsity cheer squad, noted that “this year’s KAIAC was by far the most competitive one. I was quite amazed at how much all the schools have improved skill-wise since last year.”
In addition to the team performances, selected team members from each school participated in the KAIAC All-Star competition. The All-Star champion, Julia Aulbach (SFS), earned the judges’ points through her outstanding tumbling skills. Aulbach, a junior at SFS, was named to the All-KAIAC team for a second year. She has been part of the SFS cheer squad since her freshmen year.
Cheerleading is an intensive sport that deals with constant collision and requires physical and mental strength. Cheerleaders must remain determined, energetic and spirited while performing their routines.
Cheerleaders were required to meet the criteria given by professional judges, who have experience as cheerleaders or coaches for national cheerleading squads such as the national cheer squad of Korea. Competitors were to demonstrate excellent form and precision in motion, synchronization, jumps, tumbling, dance and stunts. The difficulty level of their routines was assessed by the judges, who kept a keen eye on formation and spacing.
But showmanship and spirit were among the most important factors to keep in mind for the cheerleaders, since the sport is all about engaging the audience through enthusiastic smiles and high levels of energy. The squad that demonstrates the best ability to bring in strong crowd participation is bound to gain spirit points.
After all, cheerleading is about promoting spirit. Cheerleaders are there to “bring it on.”