Cheerleaders Compete In State Competition
For the first time since 2012, McDonald County High School is again participating
in competitive cheerleading. The squad took second place at the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association state championships held Saturday at the University of Missouri in
For the first time since 2012, McDonald County High School is again participating in competitive cheerleading.
After winning numerous state titles prior to becoming a sideline only cheer squad, the 2017-2018 squad settled for second place at the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association state championships held Saturday on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.
McDonald County competed in the Coed — Large Division against hometown Hickman High School of Columbia, coming up short in the judges’ final scores.
But McDonald County coach T.C. Banta thought the McDonald County squad performed to the best of its ability.
“It was very nerve-racking watching the kids perform,” Banta said. “This group of kids is like no other we’ve seen. The other squads were not as energetic as we were. They were excited and were crying when they were done because they did so good. I couldn’t have asked them to do any better. I was very proud of them.”
Banta said she wants to bring back competitive cheerleading because it gives the kids more scholarship opportunities and helps improve their skills and pushes them harder to be better.
“We got second in the competition, but we also got what I consider a huge win,” Banta said. “Mizzou came up after and talked to me and offered all my boys a full ride — just walk on without any tryouts. When I told them none of the boys were seniors, they were shocked because they did so well. They were also interested in seven of my girls. We were invited to come back to a recruitment camp in December. I have only two seniors, but seniors and juniors are invited. That’s a huge win because getting them to college is what we are shooting for.”
The two seniors are co-captains Hannah Leonard and Jessica Rose. Other members of the squad are Maggie Amey, Joslyn Banta, Bailey Barrett, BrookeLynn Cooper, Ally Dill, Tristen Hands, Kitrell Henighen, Hannah Huber, Reagan McKee, Demi Meador, Lilly Parnell, Madison Smith, Caitlynn Stouder, Micah Burkholder, Matthew Dudley, John Gordon, Tanner Harnar and Sam Whitehill.
Rose echoed her coach’s opinion on how well the squad performed.
“I thought we did really good,” Rose said. “We hit every single stunt — everything we practiced. It was the first time we hit our routine and not messed up at all. I thought it was rigged when they announced the results. It was a big disappointment and all of us were upset. Everyone was crying because we hit it and the other team didn’t.”
Rose said she had been cheerleading since third grade and loves the sport.
“I just love the experience and I love tumbling,” Rose said. “I like everybody watching you, and I get to cheer on my team. I just really like it. I really wanted to do competitive cheer my first three years, but we didn’t have it. Coach Banta really likes competing and it was a real fun experience.”
Rose said they practiced almost every day in the summer and also every day after school once school started.
“It was a lot of work,” Rose said. “There were like 3-4 hour practices sometimes. The girls would get really tired and wouldn’t want to do it, but we had to keep
“We weren’t very satisfied with second. We really wanted to win. I think we all thought we should have won.”
Harnar, like Burkholder, had to split time between cheerleading and football. The junior was the starting center on the 2017 Mustang football team.
Harnar said his sister (Taylor) cheered all through high school and all four years at college (Evangel) and it looked kind of fun and exciting.
“It kind of feels like you are a real man if you can throw a girl up in the air,” Harnar said. “It was pretty difficult going from football practice to cheer practice. I was pretty tired after that. I did that two or three times a week, and summer was the same way.”
Harnar said he was disappointed with Saturday’s outcome.
“We weren’t very satisfied with second,” Harnar said. “We really wanted to win. I think we all thought we should have won. We did the best we ever had and the best we could.”
Though Banta is in her first year as varsity coach at MCHS, she comes to the post with lots of experience. She competed in competitive cheer at MCHS when she was in high school. She also taught competitive cheer outside of school and is the director of the McDonald County youth cheerleaders.
The McDonald County High School cheerleading squad performs at Saturday’s state championships on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.