For one day, cheerleaders from across the state had the opportunity to step off of the sidelines and into the spotlight as they competed in the Iowa Cheerleading State Championships Nov. 1 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines.
Several local cheer squads cheered their way to victory at the competition, placing in the top 10 in their divisions.
Fort Dodge Senior High began working on a routine in late August with choreographer Philip Carpio, of the Universal Cheerleaders Association. Carpio gave the cheer squad a basic outline and set the routine to music. Coaches K.C. Williams and Juli Springer added the finishing touches. The hard work and dedication paid off when the squad took top honors in the class 4A coed division, bringing home their second consecutive state championship.
"Winning is just the icing on the cake," Williams said. "There are more schools entering the competition, so we're really getting a run for our money."
In the coed division, participants prepare a 2 1/2 minute routine of cheering, dancing, and stunting. Each routine may only have 90 seconds of music.
The Prairie Valley High School cheerleaders performed in the small squad division, taking second place. The squad members began organizing their routine in September, practicing Monday through Friday and several Saturdays in the final weeks before competition. The work of the PVHS squad paid off as well. Their second place finish earned them their second invitation to perform at half-time of a state basketball tournament game in March.
"It's an honor," PVHS Cheerleading Coach Mindy DeBaun said. "The girls are really excited for that because it gives them the chance to perform without the pressure of being judged."
Small squads consist of groups of eight or less members.
Both Fort Dodge and Prairie Valley entered squads in the stunt and sideline divisions. In the stunt division, squads perform a one-minute stunt routine to music with no cheer. In the sideline division, squads give a one-minute performance of their favorite sideline cheers and are judged on the potential for crowd response and motion technique. Fort Dodge placed second in the 4A sideline division and seventh and eighth in the stunt division. Prairie Valley took second in the 2A sideline division and third and eighth places in the small group stunt division.
For both squads, competitive cheerleading has been a positive experience, giving them the chance to showcase their talents.
"It's a good thing," Williams said. "When you compete, you really get a chance to showcase what goes on on the sidelines. It takes cheerleading outside of activities and more into athletics."
"It's good for cheerleaders," DeBaun said. "It's all about them, it shows their athleticism."
Other local squads participating in the competition were St. Edmond, Bishop Garrigan and Emmetsburg.
St. Edmond took third place in 2A and fifth place in the small group stunt division. Bishop Garrigan took home first place in class 1A. Emmetsburg took first place in the non-stunt/mount division.
Contact Emilie Nelson at (515)573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org