Local helps cheer Bisons to first

A Fort Frances native has flipped and flown her way to a first-place finish in an international cheerleading competition.
Leah Nowak is one of the 21 members of the University of Manitoba Bisons’ cheerleading squad, which finished in first place in the small co-ed category in the second-annual “Sea to Sky International Cheerleading Competition” in Vancouver, B.C. earlier this month. The competition consisted of dozens of schools from across Canada and the United States taking part in a wide range of categories over the two-day event.
The Bisons—capitalizing on their unique array of flips, twists, and flexibility demonstrations—took the top prize in the small co-ed category, where teams only could have three men on the squad.
So impressive was their performance that the Bisons also bested the winner of the large co-ed category (the Simon Fraser University Red team)—a feat that earned the Manitoba crew the title of “Sea and Sky” grand champions.
The Bisons were one of three teams in the small co-ed category and their pair of two-and-a-half minute routines earned them a total of 620 points from the judges.
That score put them 90 points ahead of their nearest small co-ed competition, but also nearly 70 points clear of SFU’s score of 552.
Nowak, in her second year at the U of M in Winnipeg, is majoring in English. A graduate of Fort Frances High School in 2005, she is the daughter of Vik Nowak and Cathy Richards.
The Bisons’ squad finished in second place at the inaugural “Sea to Sky” competition last year, and clinched the Vancouver win following an overhaul of their routine after their performance at the national competition in Toronto back in December.