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Cheerleaders narrowly miss top spot at state competition


February 14, 2017

VARSITY CHEERLEADERS gather around their second-place trophy earned at the state competition Saturday.

The Sweet Home High School competition cheer team brought home a second-place trophy from the state competition Saturday after losing to Gladstone High School by just .2 points and edging out Henley High School by 3.4 points.

“We’ve never had one that close before,” said Coach Amber Rosa, and just about anything, even just a smile, could have flipped that result.

The Huskies scored 65.1 points in building skills, while Gladstone put up 60.1 points. Teams score the majority of their stunts in the building skills category.

Rosa said Gladstone and Sweet Home had similar difficulty levels in this area, but Sweet Home executed them better.

Gladstone scored 54 points in overall routine, while Sweet Home scored 49. Teams score based on things like spacing, their cheer and voices, how tightly and cleanly they do them.

That is the most subjective section of scoring, Rosa said, based on what the judges like.

Gladstone scored 62.7 points in tumbling, while the Huskies scored 61.5 points.

The score is calculated based on how many tumbling skills a team completes and how well they do them, Rosa said. She believes the Huskies probably beat Gladstone in jumping skills, while Gladstone probably had the edge in standing tumbling skills.

In standing tumbling, the Huskies were throwing some new back handsprings, Rosa said. Gladstone probably did theirs cleaner than Sweet Home. That’s something her cheerleaders will do better with experience in a few years.

In total scoring, the Huskies had 175.6 points. Gladstone had 175.8 after a penalty of 1 point. Henley had 172.2 points. North Marion finished fourth with 166.3 points, while Newport was fifth with 158.1 points. From the Sky-Em League, Sisters finished sixth with 143.3 points, and Cottage Grove was eighth with 140.4 points. The 4A Division had 13 teams competing.

The Huskies were 10th among all divisions, just behind Gladstone at ninth. Newberg High School, Coed Small Division, had the highest score among all divisions, with 210.9 points. From Linn County, Lebanon High School finished third in the Coed Large Division, with 170.1 points. South Albany won the 5A Division with 204.4 points. West Albany placed sixth in the 6A Division with 168.5 points, and Central Linn was third in the 3A/2A/1A Division with a score of 150.

Rosa said she was proud of her team after a season filled with adversity, with illness, injury and ineligibility. The team started with a roster of 26 and shrank to just 12 for various reasons by Feb. 3, one day before the Oregon Elite Classic held in Salem.

The team numbered 15 members when freshman Courtnie Woodard sustained an injury Feb. 2. The number of cheerleaders dictates the number of stunts a team must put up, Rosa said. The team would have been unable to meet the requirements and keep its score up. With no eligible alternates to take Woodard’s place, Rosa had to move freshman Hailey Miller and sophomore Hailey Wolfe to alternate status.

With such a small number, Rosa and her team had to alter the routine substantially.

“There were some parts of it that were potentially stronger (with a smaller team),” Rosa said, but it also gave the Huskies some weaknesses as it changed everything in the routine.

“Learning a whole new routine a week before state is not a good idea,” Rosa said. “It just didn’t give us enough time to work out all the tiny details.”

The girls practiced late Friday to get it down and then went on to win the Oregon Elite Classic 4A Division and the grand champion trophy for the 1A/2A/3A/4A portion of the competition.

Gladstone was not at that competition, Rosa said, but the Huskies beat Gladstone at the Lake Oswego competition earlier in the season. Gladstone won at the Tualatin Last Chance Competition Feb. 4.

“I think they did awesome,” Rosa said of her team, noting the extra hours the girls practiced. “They rose to the challenge for sure.”

Erin Bauer and Ilima Ka’auwai-Walker were recognized as part of the all-state team and performed an exhibition routine with the all-state cheerleaders following the state competition. To win that honor, Bauer finished second and Ka’auwai-Walker finished seventh at Oregon Cheerleading Coaches Association All-State Competition in November.

Members of the state team, including the alternates, were seniors, Ka’auwai-Walker, Bauer, Weidner, Cheshire and Baxter; juniors Ashley Bailey, Jade Smith and Graham; sophomores Nicole Grady and Hailey Wolfe; and freshmen Miller, Shelby Goodwin, McKenzie Wolfe and Somatis.

The junior high team took first at its last two competitions, the Oregon Elite Classic on Feb. 4 and Sheldon Elite competition on Jan. 28. That team will compete at state on Feb. 25.


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