Cheer Places at Sectionals, State


Annabel Carr

Sanaa Johnson, Allison Toma and other cheerleaders perform at a Dec. 14 boys basketball game

Grace McGinness, Sports Editor

Crowds cheered and held up signs decorated in glittering school colors encouraging their teams to give their routines all they had, with music blasting and voices screaming in unison for their respective schools being heard wherever you stood in the building.  This is a cheer competition.

But this time the crowd was filled with orange and black. EHS was hosting cheer sectionals.  

On Sunday, Jan. 29, all high school cheer teams from division seven of IHSA gathered in the EHS gym after perfecting combinations including dance choreography and stunts.

And the Edwardsville team was no exception.

The creation of the routine takes hard work and dedication alone. Which, according to junior Mackenzie Petry, requires the help of a professional choreographer to assist them in the creative thought process combining all of the skills into one roughly 3-minute-long performance.

“There are so many aspects that go into creating a routine,” Petry said.  “There’s the tumbling, jumps, motions, stunts and all other parts of entertainment” that all need to be fit together cohesively.  

Even once the routine is created, it still needs to be perfected.  

“Stressful is an understatement when trying to explain the preparations for sectionals,” senior Marcie Billings said.  “The practices leading up to it are long, strenuous, and tiring,” a period of time the team lovingly calls “hell week.”

The atmosphere of a competition, especially at home, is what made all of the hard work worth it according to the team. But this time, they had the added pressure of preparing the school for other teams.

According to Billings, the extra preparations to host only made the team feel better about their competition.  “When comparing hosting a competition to traveling, we always strive to do the best we can regardless of where we are at but something about being at home brings out this fire within the team,” she said.

Sophomore Sanaa Johnson agreed with competition changing when they were the ones hosting.  

“The biggest difference,” she said. “Was the energy in the crowd.  In addition, while we were preparing for sectionals, we knew that we really had to do our best since we were already at an advantage being at our home gym.”

The team won third place at sectionals and went on to place ninth at state on Feb. 1.

“I am most proud of this team’s perseverance,” Billings said.  “Many didn’t even think we would make it past sectionals to state, but we ended up making top 10, an extremely difficult and prestigious feat to accomplish in our division.”