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Cheer finishes sixth in the state!

Cheer finishes sixth in the state!

What’s it like to cheer in front of a sold out crowd of nearly 2,000 fans screaming for the top 8 teams in the State at the Competitive Cheer State Finals?  According to Freshman Katie Maka, “Going to State was an experience of a lifetime. Hopefully this will be the start of a new tradition for Cedar Springs because I want to go back to the State Finals again next year!”

The Red Hawks had competed at the Delta Plex on February 13 to get the experience of competing at the State Finals venue, however, Coach Ingles knew the actual experience would be totally different.  “When we competed there in February, there were many seats left open,” said Ingles. “I tried to prepare the girls by telling them it would be packed with standing room only and the experience of being one of the top 8 teams in the State would also add to the excitement!”

It was a day that this team will never forget. At 12:30, the team and their families met at the Middle School to have a luncheon to celebrate this momentous occasion. At 2:00 they headed to the Delta Plex to get ready for their competition that started at 4:30. The team of 17 arrived at the Delta Plex and entered their first ever competition at the State Finals.

When the doors opened for the spectators to enter, it did not take long for every seat to be filled and you could hear the fans cheer when they saw their team of girls on the Delta Plex floor. As the girls came out of the warm up area and saw their crowd, they were so excited to see how many people from Cedar Springs were there to support them. “It was amazing to see our crowd and all of the supporters there for us. I’ll never forget that day, and I can’t wait to fight for it next year!” said Junior Brittany Lenardson.

The competition started at 4:30 with a parade of teams to introduce the top 8 teams in the State followed by the National Anthem. “It didn’t really occur to me that we were competing at State Finals until we walked out during the Parade of Teams. When we got on the mat, and I saw how many people from our community were there to support us, it hit me that all of our hard work had paid off. We were at state finals, and it was the perfect end to an absolutely amazing season,” said senior Jessica Lewis.

The Cedar Springs Varsity Team would be the last team to go in round 1.  Back in the warm up room, teams were stretching one more time before they went out to be judged for the last time. Girls were practicing their motions with the whole team or with a partner. This was no different for the Red Hawks. They were running through round 1 as a team with a few quick reminders from Coach Ingles. Once they finished warming up, they got in line behind Kenowa Hills since they would be following them for round 1.  Before they knew it, it was their turn to approach the mat. As the team huddled together in a circle, they did their last “fire up” for round 1.  This would be the last time they would be judged on round 1 for the season.  They know they have to leave everything they have on the mat for the judges. The Red Hawks scored a 225.5 in round 1.

Round 2 included tumbling from all the teams.  Each of the 8 teams competing would be throwing back tucks in round 2. The difference would be the number of girls on the mat.  GR Christian had 10 girls, Cedar Springs had 11, Brandon and Mount Pleasant had 14, Kenowa Hills had 15, Carlson, Allen Park, and Divine Child each had 16 girls on the mat. The more girls on the mat the higher the competitor multiplier, which is factored in after the score for each skill.  However, the skills would need to be executed cleanly and the skills needed to look the same from each of the girls on the mat. This is the round that usually starts to separate the scores. CS had a round 2 score of 231.4926 and would remain in 6th place ahead of Kenowa Hills and GR Christian.

Back in the warm up room, teams are warming up stunts and tumbling to get ready for round 3.  Stunt groups are doing extensions, one leg extensions, basket tosses, twist cradles, double twist cradles, and pyramids.  Girls are doing standing tumbling and running tumbling passes.  Everything that is in round 3 is being warmed up for the last round 3 of the season.  This would be the last time the Cedar Springs Varsity Team would take the mat together and compete for round 3.  As they wait for their turn, the excitement of finishing the competition starts to build.  “Cedar Springs, you may approach the mat!” says the announcer.  This is it!  13 girls run out of the waiting area and approach the mat to finish their first ever State Finals Competition.  As they finished round 3 and ran off to be with the rest of their team, tears of joy are seen as they realized they had just finished competing at the State Finals for the first time in Cedar Springs history.  Some tears of sadness were also shed as they realized that was the last time this team would be together as 5 of them are seniors and will be graduating.

“State Finals was an amazing experience!  I’m so glad that we finally reached our goal and were able to compete with the big dogs!  This was the best way to end my senior year!” remarked senior Dakotah Dombak. They finished round 3 with a score of 307.4.

The competition had finished and 8 teams returned to the main floor to be greeted by their amazing fans that had traveled from all over the state to see their team of outstanding athletes compete at the State Finals Competition.  The Red Hawks rushed over to their crowd and continued to cheer for their fans.  Once the final results were tabulated, they returned to the mat to hear the final scores.  Sitting in their team circle with their coaches standing on the outside of the mat looking at their girls with so much pride, the arena of nearly 2,000 fans becomes eerily quiet as the announcer begins to read the final scores of the competition.  8th – GR Christian, 7th – Kenowa Hills, 6th – Cedar Springs, 5th – Brandon, 4th – Mt. Pleasant, 3rd – Divine Child, 2nd – Carlson, 1st – Allen Park. The Cedar Springs Red Hawks had finished their first ever State Finals competition and ended the season as the 6th team in the State!

“This has been an amazing season and I am so proud of everything this team has done,” said Coach Pamela Ingles. “They have raised the bar for future teams at Cedar Springs and I know that they are already planning for next year’s season. They will continue to make history for their school and community in the years to come!”

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