Cheer­lead­ers Com­pete In State Com­pe­ti­tion

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - By Rick Peck

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

Columbia.

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.”

Tan­ner Harner

MCHS Cheer­leader

push­ing for­ward.”

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.

RICK PECK/ SPE­CIAL TO MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

The McDon­ald County High School cheerleading squad per­forms at Satur­day’s state cham­pi­onships on the cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Mis­souri in Columbia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.