Red Hawk Cheer team 7th in state
“Take the Lead” was the team motto for the season and it seemed to take on different meanings over the course of the season. One might interpret it as taking the lead in all 3 rounds to win that competition while another might interpret it as being the leader for their team. Throughout this season, this team definitely encountered numerous adversities that they had to overcome in order to reach their final goal of making it to the D2 Competitive Cheer State Finals. The week before State Finals wasn’t any different, the team would have another obstacle to overcome as they entered into the State Finals competition.
“I’m so proud of how all of the girls really pulled together and helped each other out while we were preparing for the biggest competition of our season. I saw new leaders stepping up on our team and our team motto ‘take the lead’ took on a whole new meaning for me!” said Coach Pamela Ingles.
As Saturday approached, the team was continuing to prepare for their competition by finishing all the last minute details for each round. At the end of their practice on Friday, the girls took a few minutes to share a funny memory from the season with their teammates and several had tears from laughing so hard about a memory that may have been forgotten. They also shared what they were going to do at State Finals to give everything they could for themselves and their teammates as this would be the last time this team would compete together this year. Saturday morning, the team traveled to the Delta Plex in style. A limo transported all 20 teammates and their coach to the State Finals competition at the Delta Plex.
“It was nice to be able to surprise the girls with special transportation for something that they have worked so hard to accomplish all season—making it to State Finals,” remarked Coach Ingles.
When they arrived to the Delta Plex, they were greeted by several of their fans holding a banner that said “Congratulations Cedar Springs Varsity Cheer.” Out of the 20 girls on the team, 11 where returning from last years team. For 9 of the girls, this experience would be a brand new experience.
Junior Kelli Markosky described her first year experience at State Finals as, “One word—accomplishment. I know that’s what was on everyone’s mind as we walked through the doors of the Delta Plex and realized ‘WOW, we met our goal…we are at State Finals.’ As we stood in line for the national anthem, our hearts were pumping with excitement.”
The Delta Plex was filled to capacity and this was the biggest crowd the girls would compete in front of all year. After they finished round 1, they had their highest round 1 score of the season with a 223.3. After all the teams had finished round 1, the Red Hawks were in 7th place by .2 behind Kenowa Hills. Round 2 was started off by Gibraltor Carlson who had 16 girls on the floor compared to Cedar’s 12. The girls knew they would have to go out there and have their best day in round 2. Again, they had one of their best round 2 scores with a 235. With only one round left to go, the Lady Red Hawks were still in 7th place behind Lakeshore. Kenowa Hills had dropped to 8th place with an 8 point penalty during round 2.
“Walking out for round 3 was my last time to compete with this team, I knew I had to make it the best round ever and make it a lasting memory for our seniors,” said sophomore Nicki Luevano. They earned a round 3 score of 307.6.
All of the hard work that started in November would be finished after round 3 was completed. The perseverance, determination, hard work, and dedication to never give up led this team to their 2nd State Finals appearance, one that they hope will continue as a tradition into the upcoming years.
“It was an amazing feeling to be back at State Finals. Now we just need to aim to go back next year. I would be so ecstatic if we went to State all four years of High School,” said sophomore Katie Maka.
As the final scores were tallied, the Cedar Springs Red Hawks would score their highest score of the season – 766, which would place them as the 7th best team in the State for D2. “7th isn’t what we were hoping for, but considering everything our team went through I’m satisfied. We found that when its necessary we can pull together and we did as we earned our highest score of the season!” remarked senior Brittany Lenardson.
In the future when this team reflects on their season, they will remember all of the memories they made during practices, competitions, team bonding activities, and ultimately the journey throughout the season to make it to their final goal – making it to the D2 State Finals Cheer Competition. As stated by senior Heather Mindler,”It was the best experience ever to compete at the State Finals!”