EHS Cheerleaders ‘Shake Their Tiger’ Into An ICCA Championship Title

Isabella Lilley, Staff Writer

On Saturday, Jan. 4, the EHS Cheerleading Squad brought home the Illinois Cheerleading Coaches Association (ICCA) state championship for the first time in six years.

 

The team already racked up the first place medals at Mt. Vernon with an additional practice performance at the Edwardsville Invitational.

 

The team last earned this title in 2008, when the team’s head varsity coaches, Tess Henke and Cayla Bowen, were seniors at EHS.

 

“The feeling of hearing our school name being called first is almost indescribable,” Bowen said. “We knew we had won and then came all of the crying, screaming and celebrating! It was a different feeling winning this competition as a coach compared to a competitor but still a great feeling.”

 

With such a range of emotions, no one was as startled as freshman Emma Moore. “Watching all those other teams, especially O’Fallon, I knew it was going to be close.

I wasn’t expecting to get first place which made when they called our names so amazing,” Moore said. “Hearing O’Fallon’s name called second and knowing we were coming in first was amazing. Some of the seniors were in tears and they were so happy. I knew this was going to be a great start to my high school cheerleading career.”

 

Last year the squad placed sixth, and in 2012, second. Neither of those years, however, has the team qualified for IHSA State. Well, hopefully, not until now.

 

“Originally, I wasn’t expecting a lot of success this season because we lost a large group of seniors [last year]. But then we had tryouts, and every person who made it was a hard worker. We’ve gotten a lot better than what I thought possible this season,” junior Celeste Bremley said.

 

In order to qualify for IHSA state, the team must place in the top five in the large varsity division at Sectionals on Feb. 1. There are also two days of competition at state, and they must perform well enough the first day to advance to the second.

 

Senior Jaci Quintanilla moved to Edwardsville this year and had only competed for IHSA at her previous Illinois school, even leaving with a second place finish one year. For her, the ICCA championship will not bring closure.

 

“I think it’s awesome we did win and I’m extremely proud of my team. But IHSA has always been my goal. Coming from Antioch has put me in that mindset. I’m not just hoping to qualify for IHSA, I’m determined that we’re going to qualify and we’re going to do extremely well,” Quintanilla said.

 

The squad will compete at Sectionals, and, if they qualify, will be advancing to state the weekend of Feb. 8.