By KAROLYN GEPHART
Three is a charm for the Friendswood High School Cheerleaders who competed at the UIL Spirit State Championships in Fort Worth Jan. 11-13. Their goal was to make the Top Five. They did, coming in second place and winning a 2018 6A Division 2 State Silver Medal.
In 2016 the team placed 18th and 10th in 2017.
This year 500 teams competed at State and FHS faced 134 teams in the 6A division.
At UIL Spirit State competition, each team showcases its best sideline and crowd-leading material in the following categories: Fight Song, Band Dance, and Crowd Leading.
FHS went in to the finals in first place. The top 20 teams from preliminary scores advance to the finals. Along with a silver medal, the FHS team consisting of both Varsity and JV cheerleaders, were named Fight Song Champion.
Finals competition consists of one continuous performance demonstrating the compilation of the Game Day elements performed in the preliminary round plus a situational element, according to the UIL website.
In finals, the cheerleaders first perform a band dance. Following its performance, the team is given a game scenario indicating an offense or defense situation. Teams then must show their understanding of the situation with the correct crowd leading response, and at this time enters the crowd leading portion of finals. The groups end finals competition with their fight song routine.
Varsity cheerleaders who competed include Rebecca Andrews, Sarah Blair, Rachel Epperson, Mallory Ferazzi, Rachel Moore, Katie Mulloy, Destiny Niemeier, Macie Robertson, Grace Rollen, Gracie Ruiz, Lauren Schrock, Madison Stephens, Breely Swientonioski, Katie Thompson, Lillie Wilson and Hannah Zeller.
JV members include Alex Gibson, Mackenzie Harris, Allison Leighton, Lauren Morrow, Mackenzie Muecke, Savanah Perry, Erin Speed, Paige Taylor, Maddie Thompson, Megan Thompson, Eirn Walmsley, and Olivia Weber.
FHS Coaches are Kerri Yee, Jenna Crosson, and Courtney Gibson.
“I am extremely proud of how hard this team has worked the last several months,” Crosson said. “We know what it feels like to be so close to first and we will do whatever it takes to cllnch that spot next year.”
Crosson is a former FHS cheerleader.
“It’s amazing to witness what high school cheerleading has become,” Crosson said. “I am honored to be a part of the future of cheerleading and glad that it is finally being recognized on the UIL level. I am excited to see what the future holds for FHS Cheer, hopefully a first place UIL title.”
FHS Cheer faces National Cheerleading Association (NCA) High School Nationals in Dallas Jan. 26-28. They have competed in the NCA Nationals every year since 2012.
FHS gave the cheerleaders a sendoff for their State UIL competition the morning they left. The Mustang Band drumline provided the sound while the students along with Principal Mark Griffon provided the cheering. Westwood Elementary wished them luck on their marque, a visible wish as the buses drove past on their way.