Cheerleaders take the stage tonight at state
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US Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington will be jam-packed tonight for the IHSA State Cheerleading Finals. Under the lights, the Minooka cheer team will be competing in front of hundreds of spectators in hopes to win a state title.
The cheerleaders are taking the stage at 6:55 p.m. They will be performing in the large team finals, where they are one of 25 teams competing.
The Indians’ Road to State has been full of hard work and pressure. At regionals they were able to finish fifth with a score of 83.
A week later in even tougher competition at sectionals, the team left with lots of confidence after also placing 5th, this time with a score of 83.97.
“When they called Minooka at sectionals, I don’t think I’ve ever seen our whole team so happy before,” said freshman Kyla Stang. “It’s going to be really nerve-wracking up on stage in front of more people than usual, and bright stage lights, but I’m excited to experience performing with all of my friends on stage.”
Qualifying meant a lot to this year’s team. The many returning athletes along with new freshmen had been working on all new routines for this year.
“The whole team is just super proud of each other for qualifying,” said sophomore Morgen Breen. “Even though we didn’t hit a perfect routine at sectionals, this weekend gives us one more time to perform.”
Heading into the final stages of the competition cheer season, the team is really focusing on spending their time on the little things that will make their routine perfect. The team is also focusing on having fun while their competing under the lights tonight, because they feel when they are enjoying themselves they compete at another level.
The five seniors are excited to see the team reach state again, including senior Amanda Gardner.
“For me qualifying for state was incredibly important since I have gone to state all three years leading up to this year. Us advancing this year is even more important since it is my senior year,” she said.
The cheer team is hoping to make it out of the preliminary round today and forge on to the finals on Saturday. To do so they will have to finish top 10 against some great teams.
“To prepare for state, our team practiced almost every single day. Even if we were sick we still tried our best to make it to practice,” Stang said. “We not only put all this effort in not only for ourselves but for each other. At practices we cleaned everything and threw out our routine fully. We feel the school is behind us fully though, shoutout to Jackson Shepard for coming out to our practices and cheering us on at all our competitions.”
Other teams in the area that also advanced to state from the Normal Sectional are Joliet West (2016 Champions), Neuqua Valley, Edwardsville and Plainfield East. Also nearby from the Tinley Park Sectional are Lincoln-Way East, Sandburg, Lockport Township, Providence Catholic and Marist.