Last year’s runners up, this year’s state champion: Cheer wins Game Day State


Desiree Houg

Varsity wins Game Day State Championship for the first time in school history. The rest of the cheer groups (show cheer and stunt) will compete at their respective state competitions in March.

Last month, cheer competed at the AIA Game Day State Championship. The team placed first in the game day category for the first time in school history and placed first in band chant (a section within the game day category).

“We came into state with a burning desire to win…since we were runners-ups last year,” said senior cheer captain Hallie Kimball. “We put so many reps in with no complaints…and the seniors stepped up to make it all happen by keeping positive attitudes and constantly reminding each other of our goals.”

Game Day State is separated from Show Cheer, Stunt, etc. because it is a category comprised of multiple sections: band chant, situational sideline, crowd leading cheer, and the fight song. The rest of the cheer groups, Varsity Show Cheer, and Varsity Stunt, do not compete at state until March, which they must first qualify for at regionals later this month.

“Our team did so well this year because they are so eager and just want to learn,” said varsity cheer coach Desiree Houg. “They are always open to doing whatever it takes to get better as they truly want to be the best”

Due to the cheer season being so long, from about November to April, the team is constantly dealing with injuries and sickness, both mental and physical. The coaches do their best to prevent as much of this as possible by upping the amount of strength training for the team and constantly checking in with the girls’ mentalities.

“This is probably the most talented group we have ever had…they are like, next level,” said Houg, “but sometimes we struggle to see the bigger picture and have to take time to really break things down to understand their impact/importance.”

Just three weeks after winning Game Day State, cheer competed at the Cactus Cup, a smaller competition where both JV and Varsity competed. This was these teams first competition since November, and only their third of the whole year. Varsity ended up placing first and JV placed second.

“Our skill level is better and more difficult this year,” said junior cheerleader Jenna Nelson. “But what matters most is hitting [not making any mistakes] on the competition floor,” which is exactly what they did at the Cactus Cup. 

In two weeks, show cheer and stunt will compete at AIA Regionals where they will compete against all the other D1 school cheer teams in an attempt to qualify for state. Of the 17 teams competing in stunt, 7 will qualify, and of the 28 competing for show cheer, 10 will qualify. After this, the team will compete at AIA State in March and hope to win a spot to UCA Nationals in April, just like last year.