By Kelly Evenson

Mariah Hagerty said after the heartbreaking defeat at last year’s Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association State Championship, the Blue Springs High School Coed team was more determined than ever to get back on top.

“Yes, there was more pressure than there usually is,” said the Blue Springs senior. “Blue Springs has a huge reputation of winning sports/athletes. It was heartbreaking not winning state last year, especially with the routine we had. But we came together and realized the things we needed to work on together to come back this year cleaner and stronger than ever, and it paid off.”

The Blue Springs High School Coed Team and the William Chrisman All Girls Team both won the state championship during the MCCA State Competition Sept. 14 and 15 in Columbia, Mo. The Coed squad placed first in the Coed Large Division, and William Chrisman placed first in the 4 Small Division. Also winning state championships were the all girls and coed squads at Grain Valley High School.

“Our division is one of the toughest in the state and packed with talent,” said Stacey Mitchem, coach at William Chrisman. “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.”

Blue Springs Senior Sydney Lamb said she felt like teamwork is what led to her squad’s success this year.

“Our team this year acts like a family, and we work together so well,” she said. “Teamwork is the key to success and that’s definitely a trait that this team has this year. We were all so dedicated and had so much motivation to come back this year and show Missouri who the Blue Springs Coed Cheer team is.”

William Chrisman Senior Jessica Morain said it felt amazing to bring the state championship back to Independence. The squad last won state eight years ago.

“It is one of the best feelings in the world,” she said. “After winning at regionals, we knew there was a possibility to do so at state. However, we knew we would have to overcome some challenges to do it, which we did.”

William Chrisman’s Megan Theel pointed to the seniors on the squad as the ones to keep moving the team forward.

“They were always there to give a pep talk when we were getting upset about how practice was going,” she sad. “They were always there for some encouragement or to make the situation more positive.”

Blue Springs Senior Christian Jackson is still in disbelief after his first experience at the state competition.

“Being my first year on the team, around new people, I didn’t know what to expect or how we would do,” he said. “But after we competed and walked off the mat, it was the best feeling in the world. All I could say was ‘We did it, guys.’”