Cheer squad wins second state championship

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The Sweet Home High School cheerleaders won the state championship in the 4A large division for the second year in a row Saturday at the Portland Memorial Coliseum.

This year, they shared the championship with Pleasant Hill High School.

After their performance Saturday at the Memorial Coliseum, Coach Crystal Kimball and her team were a little nervous about how they did. Not everything went perfectly.

“Of course, when you go on the mat, you’re not always going to be perfect,” Kimball said.

The team “came down a little soon” on one stunt, Kimball said, adding that those girls were a group that rarely drops stunts. The team also had some timing issues.

“We had some flaws, but we came out in first place,” team co-captain Chelsea Gregory said. She said she was surprised to find that out.

Everything else looked good, she said. The girls were high-energy and enthusiastic on the mat.

“We were really clean and together,” Gregory said. “We were really synchronized. We have this energy, and we love to cheer.”

The Huskies’ formations and their precision were “dead on,” Kimball said. They had good height on their jumps, and they excelled with their running and tumbling.

Waiting for the awards ceremony, “I just knew we dropped a stunt,” Kimball said.

Brookings Harbor and Pleasant Hill are both great teams, who were a threat to Sweet Home’s chances, she said.

Brookings Harbor ended up in third place, while Pleasant Hill shared the championship.

“I love their coach,” Kimball said. “Her and I are very good friends.”

Pleasant Hill is “a team we like,” she said, with a “healthy sense of competition.”

“Of course, it’s awesome to win,” Kimball said, but the Huskies weren’t entirely worried about winning the trophy. “We love each other. We’re such a close-knit group.”

It felt good just to compete together after all of the things the girls have done together, fighting illness and injury and still getting to the state meet as a whole team, Kimball said. “We were happy no matter what.”

The cheerleaders earned four first-place trophies and one second place at five competitions prior to the state championship.

The team includes Dany Petermen, Tanesia McDowell, Abbie Rice, Amber Horner, Larisa Cole, Chelsea Gregory, Leah Dauley, Emily Coonrod, Haley Voldbaek, Conna Erickson, Alyssa Logan, McKenna Burnett, Leah Keesecker, Ella Butler, Lea Rasmussen, Bethany Babcock, Kaci Pettit, Jamie Burcham, Paige Bracher and Jessica Smith.