The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Cheerleading Makes History with Podium Finish at State

Colleen Moore
Freshman Carley Hartman with seniors Maia Rowe, Julianne Hendricks and Kayla Zacheis taking the floor at their Jan. 31 state showcase.

Staring into the spotlights with locked, shaky hands, too-tight hair and a sense of the crushing, day-two pressure filling the arena, the whole team could tell this was going to be a good run. 

Following last year’s record-breaking sixth-place finish, the cheerleading team brought home their first state trophy Saturday night. But the Tigers didn’t come by their second-place hardware easily.

“We worked so hard this season to accomplish this goal of making podium,” sophomore Maggie Bowser said. “Everything we went through this season was worth it because we brought home that trophy and that title that no one else had before.”

Before the 2023-24 season, their previous sixth-place finish was the team’s highest rank in the state championship.

From the beginning of the season, the Tigers used that sixth-place spot as a motivator, coach Anna Schuetzenhofer told the Intelligencer. 

“They knew what they needed to do,” Schuetzenhofer said. “We all worked hard last season and we just kept that momentum going.”

The competition began Friday night with a total of 100 competing teams across all divisions. After hitting a zero-deduction routine with a score of 94.72, the Tigers advanced among the top 10 Large Varsity teams to day two.

According to junior Quinn David, the second day of the competition came easily to the team.

“Once you make it to day two, you can have fun,” David said. “We were super confident going into the second day, and walking out on the mat is so exciting knowing everyone is rooting for you.”

Carrying that confidence out onto the mat, the Tigers hit a second zero-deduction routine, this time earning a score of 95.90.

According to the National Cheerleaders Association, a higher score comes from a combination of more difficult and well-executed stunts, pyramids, tumbling and jumps, along with an assortment of other elements, including timing and inflection. 

As the awards ceremony quickly revealed, Edwardsville is no stranger to the complicated dynamic of a high-scoring routine. 

“The day two routine was so special, because it was the best routine we had ever done,” Bowser said. “Hitting that last motion made everything feel so surreal. We all knew whatever came next didn’t matter, because we had put our all into the last routine we would do together.”