The Highland High School cheerleading team was given a five-point penalty in Friday’s prelims, and it resulted in the squad not qualifying for Saturday’s finals by 0.53 of a point at the Illinois High School Association Competitive Cheerleading State Finals at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.
The penalty occurred because of one little mishap in the mount, which made the back spot get to a stunt in the middle a little late before the flyer flips, so the judges gave Highland a legality (a five-point penalty). A penalty such as that is extremely hard to come back from as it dropped Highland from score of 85.00 to 80.00, which was a huge drop of eight positions from fourth to 12th in the final standings for prelims. Only the top 10 qualify for the finals.
“It’s heartbreaking for the girls,” Highland coach Angie Fears said. “They know how close they were to making the podium.
“After our performance, which was one of the top four performances of the day, the girls were so pumped to come back for day two. We had little errors in the routine, and the girls wanted to come back and were so excited and ready to perform again. It would have been a perfect opportunity to make podium on day two. Unfortunately, we incurred a legality due to a performance error that couldn’t have been stopped, due to a bobble, which put us .53 points out of making the top 10. The girls had a great performance, and coach Chelsey Kantner and I were extremely proud of them and how they did. They did exactly what we asked of them.”
Kantner said the routine was great, and they deserved so much better, but the penalty occurred because of a freak accident on the mount that could not have been helped and was nobody’s fault.
“The girls did great and held their heads high and acted like the champions we know they are,” she said. “Although they didn’t advance, they at least were pretty happy with the performance they went out on. We have had many other coaches reach out to us to say they didn’t agree with it, but there is simply nothing we could do about it.
“We are told in our meeting that it is what the judge sees at that time and there is no review. It was such a bummer, because they could have given the top three teams a good run for their money to get a podium spot. I just wanted it for them so bad. It would have been nice to come back with some hardware. But we were overall happy with their performance, we just wish we had the chance to compete on day two.”
The Highland High School varsity cheer team consists of Molly Barry, Kaylee Barth, Rileigh Bent, Karley Broske, Kamy Daiber, Calli Engelmann, Ally Iberg, Hope Imming, Lexi Gibbons, Candice Greer, Abby McTeer, Carly Rakers, Leah Sutton, Alex Thies, Bailey Wills and Jessica Wilson.