The Highland High School cheerleading team finished fourth in the medium team division at the IHSA Waterloo Sectional on Saturday and punched its ticket to this weekend’s IHSA Competitive Cheerleading State Final at the Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.
Columbia won the medium team division at the sectional with a score of 83.79. Rounding out the top five squads in the division and also qualifying for the state were host Waterloo (79.76), Mount Vernon (78.68), Highland (78.31) and Bloomington (75.63). All five teams will compete Friday in the prelims at the state competition.
“I️ am literally so proud of how the kids did today,” said Highland coach Angie Fears, whose team is scheduled to compete in Friday’s prelims at 10:20 a.m. “We have had a very rough season and things have been a struggle for a long time. We even lost one of our fliers a week and a half ago, canceled a competition, reworked the entire routine, scrapped a mount and created a new one. It was all for the best as our goal was to just make top five and qualify. And we did qualify, and we did it even with taking 1.25 penalty points. They had me in tears at Friday night’s practice, because it was the first time all season our routine finally hit. They pulled together as a squad and did amazing.”
Fears also said the team still has stuff it can work before for this weekend’s state competition, but the biggest feat of getting there was accomplished.
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Senior co-captain Leah Sutton said after losing two teammates to heath reasons and completely reworking the routine during the week, it felt like this year’s sectionals was a huge bonding moment for the team.
“We all went in with a positive attitude, due to a great practice the night before,” Sutton said. “This coming week, we will be making a couple more changes to strengthen the routine before we compete at IHSA. Overall, we are very proud of our performance, and it brought tears to our eyes.”
Senior co-captain Abby McTeer said the team’s performance was amazing.
“My team gave me the best performance I could have asked for, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” McTeer said. “As a senior, I feel so blessed to be moving forward to my fourth and final IHSA state competition. I hope we can leave being proud of what we put on the mat, that’s all that matters. My emotions are at a high, and I hope to continue and finish the season strong.”
The HHS cheer team consists of seniors Abby McTeer, Leah Sutton, and Tyler Zobrist; juniors Lexi Gibbons, Megan Griesbaum, Joey Kutz, Olivia Loyet, Carly Rakers, Alex Thies, and Parisse Waldman; sophomores Molly Barry, Rileigh Bent, Karley Broske, Madysen Castille, Kamy Daiber, and Candice Greer; and freshmen Jordan Grieve, Kyleigh Haller, Karlie Hooton and Emma Ruffini.
Breese Central won the small team division at the Waterloo Sectional with a score of 83.63.