By Kelly Evenson
Four area high school cheerleading squads can say they are the best in Missouri.
The Grain Valley High School Varsity and Coed Teams, the Blue Springs High School Coed Team and the William Chrisman Varsity Team all placed first in their respective divisions during the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association’s State Competition Saturday and Sunday in Columbia, Mo.
“It was incredible for the kids to go and perform their best under pressure when it counted,” said Stephanie Peterman, coach for the Blue Springs Coed Team. “Last year was a big year for Blue Springs Coed winning UCA World School Championships in February and a second place finish at the National High School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando. This year’s group knows that they have big shoes to fill, and this competition was the first step towards our goal of making a run for a National and World Championship this February. We know we still have work to do, but this was a great first step.”
To qualify for state, teams must either place in the top five at regionals or receive an at-large bid.
“Winning state cheer in two divisions, two years in a row is almost unbelievable,” said Delanne Carlson, head cheer sponsor for Grain Valley. “I am so incredibly proud of my cheerleaders. Our motto this year has been ‘work hard, dream big,’ and all 34 of them did exactly that.”
Stacey Mitchem, cheer coach for William Chrisman, said the squad has worked “incredibly hard” this spring and summer, spending countless hours practicing, while balancing other obligations. She said she and the other coaches are produce that “these girls have contributed to the tradition of cheerleading excellence.”
“Our division is one of the toughest in the state and packed with talent. We knew they would have to hit our routine to do well. We had a few rough practices before competition so we were so proud of them for pulling together and fighting for this routine,” she said. “When you hear your school’s name announced as the state champions, it’s almost as if everything is in slow motion, and you can see everything that your coaching staff and girls have gone through (injuries and illnesses) to get where we are now. It’s like a dream.”
Blue Springs High School – first place out of three teams in the Coed Large division (2010 and 2011 state champions).
William Chrisman High School – first place out of 10 teams in the 4 Small Division (2012 and 2013 Regional Champions).
Grain Valley High School – first place out of 11 teams in the 3 Small Division (2010, 2011 and 2012 state champions). The Grain Valley Squad placed first out of 15 teams in the Coed Small Division (2012 State Champions).
Fort Osage High School – third place in the Coed Small Division.
Lee’s Summit West - first place out of nine teams in the 5 Small Division.