Mount Si cheer squad makes history as state champs

January 30, 2013

By Michele Mihalovich

ContributedMount Si’s cheerleading red squad made school history when it won a state championship Jan. 26.

Mount Si’s cheerleading red squad made school history when it won a state championship Jan. 26.

So much can go wrong performing at the state cheerleading championship.

Cheerleaders are in an auditorium filled with ponytailed peers watching their every move. That kind of pressure could result in a miscount and throw the whole squad off.

Seven stern-faced judges sit just 10 feet away from the mat, scrutinizing every jump, flip and pyramid formation. One wrong move and an entire pyramid collapses, and precious points are shaved from scores.

Erin Antoch, a cheerleading junior on Mount Si’s red squad, said she was so nervous in the huddle right before performing, that she could barely breathe.

“And then about five seconds before we began, I don’t even know how or why it happened, but I just felt total calm on the floor,” she said.

Coach Jessii Stevens could do nothing but sit behind the judges and watch her cheerleaders compete and hope for the best.

“The beginning of their routine included a lot of difficult stunting skills. It’s the most difficult part of the routine. When I saw that they hit everything perfectly, I knew they had this and I think that momentum carried them through the rest of the routine. The beginning was our do or die moment – and they nailed it,” Stevens said.

The girls also knew they had just executed a perfect routine. The second they got away from the crowd and were behind the backstage curtain, the girls let loose their emotions. They giggled, they screamed, they hugged and they cried.

“I’m crying because during every routine, there is something that goes slightly wrong,” said senior Hailey Barrett. “But when we finished — I just knew everything went perfect. It’s the best we’ve ever done.”

The judges on Jan. 26 at the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion at the University of Washington, also recognized the perfection they saw that day from the Wildcat’s red squad—and awarded them the first place trophy of the medium-sized 2A/3A/4A division.

This is the first time in Mount Si’s history that the cheerleaders had won state.

Coach Stevens described what it was like sitting in the pavilion and listening to the results.

“First they named the third place winner,” she said. “And after they named the second-place winner, my entire body started trembling because I knew Mount Si was about to get recognition for all the hard work they’ve put in since April.”

Mount Si’s red squad, which went undefeated during this competition season, racked up 232 points at state – that’s 14 points more than Juanita, which came in second, and 29 more points than Jackson High School, which finished third.

Mount Si’s silver squad also made it to the state competition and also executed a perfect routine, but they ended up with a fourth place finish in the non-tumbling 3A division.

After their routine in front of the judges, senior Jannel Rasmussen said, “I could not be more happy. We hit everything, and I’m completely content, especially compared to our last competition when we dropped an entire pyramid. No matter what, I’m proud of how we did and especially proud of our first year girls.”

Annie Bruckner is a freshman and due to multiple injuries on the silver team, moved up from the junior varsity team to compete with the silver squad.

“I had two days to learn an entirely different routine, new dances and new stunts,” she said. “This is the first time I have ever competed. I didn’t know how exhilarating this would be — it was just awesome!”

For the silver squad, the season is over; but the red team heads to nationals in Florida Feb. 7.

“We are headed to nationals after an undefeated season and being named state champions,” Barrett said. “That’s just an incredible feeling.”

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