The screams Delhi District Secondary School cheerleader Brooke Booker let out on Tuesday were much different than the ones from December of last year.
Booker returned to competition with the Raiders at Young Canada Day in Simcoe, the first time she’s donned the blue and gold in competition since tearing ligaments in her leg in a scary scene at last year’s NSSAA Championships.
To cap the comeback, the Raiders not only won the Norfolk County Fair cheer title but the overall grand championship for a ninth straight year.
“When I first hurt my ankle, I never saw myself coming back,” Booker admitted Tuesday. “It was a long recovery and even practicing up until today I was never able to do our jumps, so it just feels really good to be back out here.”
As a fellow third-year member of the squad, senior captain Riley Brady said the intensity at practice ratchets up each year for the Raiders to keep their streak alive.
“It’s so much pressure,” Brady explained. “Every school is trying to beat us, each year it’s more nerve-racking, every single year.”
A light drizzle turned into a driving rain in the moments leading up to the cheerleading competition but that did little to dampen the spirits of all five teams involved.
For the Raiders, the mud and the muck was just another hurdle en route to lucky No. 9.
“It was just a challenge, another challenge for us to overcome,” said Brady. “It was something to push us forward to keep trying and keep going.”
The Holy Trinity Titans earned second spot while the two-time defending county title holders from Simcoe placed third.
With the competition nipping at their heels, the Raiders found it difficult to describe the moment their team, and their school was crowned champs.
“Your heart just drops, it’s adrenaline all the time and with the whole school behind you cheering, it’s an amazing feeling,” said Brady.
“It feels so good,” Booker said. “It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”