Soaring to new heights

Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte

Whether it’s in cheerleading or on the ski slopes, Aynsley Hoornweg likes a big challenge.
For instance, the nine-year-old is a flyer with Pegasus Cheer Athletics.
“I like flying in the air and I like learning to do new tricks,” Aynsley said.
“It looks cool when you get thrown up.”
After trying other sports like soccer and baseball, cheer proved to best for Aynsley and she’s been training with Pegasus for about five years now.

“She works really hard and she enjoys practising at home in her spare time and whenever she can get in the gym for extra nights,” her mom, Jessica Hoornweg, said. “She’s not afraid to put her trust in other kids to catch her and not let her hit the ground. It’s more scary for mom.”
Aynsley added that she’s “hit the floor lots of times.”
“Sometimes when the bases throw you, they don’t catch you hard enough,” she continued. “The first time we did it they didn’t realize how much pressure they have to throw and how much pressure comes down to catch.”

Aynsley acknowledges it can be difficult to learn to new tricks and skills. The most challenging so far has been cradle. “It’s when your bases push you up into the air, then you have to lean back and then they’ll catch you,” she said.

Not fazed by challenges, Aynsley has also been skiing in her spare time for the last four or five years whether that’s locally at Batawa Ski Hill or even Mont Tremblant in Quebec.
“It’s fun going to big, big hills and learning how to do stuff there,” she said. “I like cold weather and snow in the winter.”

When it came to choosing an indoor activity, Aynsley simply saw cheerleading on a children’s show and promptly knew she wanted to give it a try.
She hasn’t been able to train at the gym as often as she would prefer the past couple of years. There was one virtual competition last year. Still, she never stops training in the gym when possible and is eager to do what she can at home as well to prepare for future competitions. “You’re cheer routine, you can always go through that,” Aynsley said. “When you’re at home you should keep doing them and exercising.”

Aynsley has brothers who enjoy soccer and a sister who will try a number of activities. That can make for a busy family schedule, but Jennifer is all for it. “They like doing it and if they want to do it then we like to get them there, but it can be very busy. I would rather that than sitting in front of the TV,” she said. “Other than keeping them active, they make new friends outside of their school which is always good. It’s just nice to see them work hard at something that they enjoy and have fun.”

Aynsley looks forward to continue working on her skills and enjoys watching videos of cheerleaders, including Gabi Butler and Gabi Fuller. “I want to be a professional cheerleader when I get older,” she said. In the meantime, Aynsley loves spending time at Pegasus because “all the coaches are so kind and you can make lots of new friends.”

Pegasus Cheer Athletics is located at 1989 Old Highway 2 in Belleville.
Programs available include cheerleading, tumbling, parkour and preschool classes.
Learn more at