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Tag Archive | "Coach Justin Harnden"

Hawks Nest moves to semifinals in Battle of the Fans


Cedar Springs is one of nine schools across the state competing to win the “Battle of the Fans.” Courtesy photo.

Every athlete knows that there is a member of the team that doesn’t play on the field or court with them, but they are part of the team just the same—and that’s the fans that cheer them on. Anyone who has been to a Cedar Springs Red Hawks sporting event knows that the student section—the Hawks Nest—is one of the best around. And now the student section has a chance to prove it.

Teacher and Coach Justin Harnden has been working with the Athletic Leadership Council at the school to create a culture that’s positive and supportive to all fans and teams—including the opposing ones. And Tuesday morning he saw some of the fruits of that labor when it was announced by the MHSAA that Cedar Springs was one of nine schools chosen to continue on to the semifinals in the “Battle of the Fans VII” contest.

The Battle of the Fans was organized by the MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council. Schools were invited throughout the fall to submit short videos, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action, with the deadline Jan. 13. Nine semifinalists were announced on Tuesday, January 16: Cedar Springs, Petoskey and Traverse City West from Class A; Boyne City, Buchanan and Charlotte from Class B; and Munising, Negaunee and Pellston from Class C/D. 

Instead of choosing five finalists as in past years, the Advisory Council selected nine semifinalists to accomplish a list of tasks showing off their sections over the next 12 days–and the Council will then select three finalists for MHSAA visits.

This year’s winner will be announced Feb. 23 and recognized March 23 at the Breslin Center.

Semifinalists are required to complete 10 challenges via their social media channels by 11 p.m. Jan. 27. Five mandatory challenges focus on contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and overall fun.

Five elective challenges (taken from a list of 15 opportunities) will allow semifinalists more opportunities to show the unique characteristics that make their sections elite. 

“Our Student Advisory Council wanted to keep more of these great student sections involved in Battle of the Fans longer, and also make sure our best sections were showing their best on more than just the days they applied and we visited,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “The ‘Challenge Round’ sets up a true competition as these nine schools watch and try to outdo each other’s best work over the next 12 days. We’re excited to watch them step up their games to answer the competition.”

Harnden was pleased that they had been chosen to head on to the semifinals. “We have a lot of work to do, but we are up for it,” he said.

A total of 19 schools applied for this year’s contest – seven from Class A schools, six from Class B, four from Class C and two from Class D. Three semifinalists each were selected from the Class A, Class B and Class C/D applicants.

The Student Advisory Council will select the finalists for announcement Jan. 29 on Second Half. MHSAA staff and Student Advisory Council members will visit all three finalists for home basketball games during the second half of this regular season, with coverage and video from those visits and the announcement of the winner all to be published on Second Half.

The winner will be selected by another Advisory Council vote based in part on activity on the MHSAA’s social media sites. All social media postings regarding Battle of the Fans VII should include the hashtag #BOTF. The MHSAA will share semifinalists’ challenge posts over the next two weeks on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites and Snapchat feed. The MHSAA also will post from the three finalists visits on those channels.

Cedar Springs will be using their social media sites on Facebook (CSHS Athletic Leadership Council) and Twitter (@CedarALC). Don’t forget to check them out and share their content!

To see the application video they put together, go to YouTube and search for CedarSpringsTV. Click on it, and then you will see their “Battle of the Fans” video listed.

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