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CS Varsity cheer headed to state finals

CS Varsity cheer headed to state finals

Dreams do come true.

Is it possible to make school history for Cedar Springs High School athletics two weeks in a row? When you have a team of 17 competitive cheerleaders with a team goal of advancing to the Competitive Cheer State Finals, you better believe it’s possible.

The Red Hawks won their first District Championship on February 20 at GR Christian and the girls were honored at half time of the boys basketball game on Friday night, February 26. They also advanced to the Regional Competition at Kenowa Hills on February 27, where the top 4 teams would have the honor of advancing to the State Finals to be among the top 8 in the State of Michigan for Division 2 schools.

It gave this team another week to work on cleaning up more of the small details in all 3 rounds before seeing the judges again at the Regional Competition. This competition would be much harder than the District meet since they would be competing against the top 4 teams from 2 other district competitions.

“We talked about making it difficult for the judges to deduct any points by making everything as clean and tight as we possibly could,” said Coach Pam Ingles. “We wanted to have a good start for the competition after round 1 and we did that. We were in 2nd place by eight-tenths of a point.”

After round 2, the Red Hawks took the lead and was ahead of Mount Pleasant (last year’s State runner-up finalist) by about 4.5 points. With the 3rd round left to go, the Red Hawks looked to have a good chance of advancing to the State Finals, which would be another first for the CS Cheer Team. They were hoping they would at least be in the top 4 so they could advance to State. They had a solid round 3, but would it be enough to keep Cedar in the lead against the team from Mount Pleasant that had 16 girls on the mat for round 3 compared to Cedar’s 13 girls in round 3?

The competition finished and all 12 teams were sitting on the mat with their teams waiting for the scores to be finalized. The announcer reads every team’s round 3 score first and then announces the school name. As he gets higher to the top 4 that would be advancing, the anticipation among the remaining teams grows, hoping that their name is in the top 4. After he read the 5th place team and Cedar Springs had not been announced yet, the girls and their coaches knew that they had made it!

“When the announcer stated that the 4 teams that have not yet been announced have qualified for State Finals, I looked at the seniors’ faces and not one of them had a dry eye,” said Junior Kirstin VanLoo. “We did it! We gave our 5 seniors their well deserved chance to compete at the state finals before they graduate.”

Kenowa Hills finished in 4th place, GR Christian finished in 3rd and the excitement was growing for the Red Hawks as they waited to see how they finished. Had they made school history again by keeping the lead for first place and winning the Regional Championship or had they finished in 2nd place, still very proud and excited to be going to the State Finals?

Then came the announcement. “In 2nd place with a round 3 score of 315.8, the Oilers of Mt. Pleasant. In first place and your Regional Champs with a round 3 score of 314.3, the Red Hawks of Cedar Springs!”  Once again the Cedar Springs Varsity Cheer Team made history for their program and their school. They had advanced to the state finals and they were Regional Champs, both a first for Cedar Springs.

“As a freshman on the team, I think this is an amazing opportunity for me and my teammates. I know we all have worked so incredibly hard to earn our place at school, in the community, and to earn our trip to the state finals,” said freshman Nicole Luevano.

As icing on the cake, Coach Ingles was named regional coach of the year.

The Red Hawks have one more week to prepare for the biggest competition in the state and will be among the top 8 teams.  “I’m so excited for this team to have the chance to compete at the state level,” remarked Coach Ingles. “This team has accomplished some amazing things in the last few weeks and I can’t wait to see how they do on Saturday.”

Junior Brittany Lenardson is excited, too. “All our hard work has paid off! The reality of competing at the state finals hasn’t hit me yet and probably won’t until I see that huge crowd at the Delta Plex,” she said.

Division 2 State Finals is on March 6 at 4:30 at the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids. Doors open at 3:30 for spectators and tickets are $7.00.

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