PHS Cheer Members Give Their All at State Competition


Cheer Team

The happy cheer team poses at State.

Riley Rosi, Reporter

Friday, January 29th, the PHS competition cheer team spent the night in the school’s gym in preparation for January 30th’s State Cheer Competition at University of Washington’s Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.  There are 20 girls total on the team; 16 compete on the floor and four girls go as alternates.  An alternate athlete works with the team but only competes if someone gets sick, if an injury occurs, or if grades don’t allow a competitor to participate.  Cheer’s competition season starts in November and typically ends towards the end of January with the State competition.

Before qualifying for state, the cheer team took part in five competitions during the regular season.The fifth event was the team’s last chance to qualify for state.  At the end of the performances, the head judge announced the state qualifiers; PHS was not among them, so the girls were disappointed.  Coach Crowley went up to the judge’s table to get the score sheets and started adding the points up.  She was confused because the team only needed 59 points to qualify, and her counts were totaling 60.  Crowley confronted the head judge, telling her to “Wait a minute” and that, somehow, those responsible for scoring had missed highlighting Peninsula’s name.  

Kathy Crowley has been coaching cheer at PHS for 12 years, and she has enjoyed every minute of it, but she was equally disappointed as the girls when the mistaken results were announced. “The judge was trying to yell on the microphone over all these other teams, ‘Hey we missed one, Peninsula qualified’, and as soon as she did that, the girls heard it because you just heard this loud scream from the middle of the floor,” Crowley said.

Junior, Caroleann Tiedeman, joined the cheer team her freshman year.  Tiedeman’s mom encouraged her to try out for the team because it’s a good way to stay connected and to be involved with the school.  Tiedeman also thought it would be a good fit because she has a background in dance and she thought that it looked like fun.  This was her first time going to state – she described it as one of her favorite experiences because she had heard stories about it but had never gotten to experience it for herself.  Tiedeman is very excited about going into next season as a senior.

“I think cheer is so much fun and I am so glad to be a part of it.  Going into my senior year, I am excited to keep it going.  Cheer has morphed me into this person that I am today and I love every single second of it,” said Tiedeman.

The morning of the state competition the team took a bus at 9:30 to the UW Arena.  Once all of the teams arrived, the coaches had to attend a meeting.  In the afternoon, the teams went to the warm up mats.  The first mat is used for work on perfecting stunts, the second is used for fine-tuning tumbling and cheer routines, and the last mat is where the teams run through their entire routines to get ready to perform.

Morgan Blalock is a senior who has been on the cheer team since her freshman year.  As a senior, Blalock strives to be a role model for the younger members on the team.  

“We work our butts off all the time, seven days a week practically, whether it’s just thinking about the routine at home or practicing at school.  I am really proud of our team.  Peninsula High School’s cheer team has improved immensely.  Kathy Crowley, our coach, and Rebecca Cooper, our assistant coach, are an extremely important  part of leading our team to where we are now, and I really do give some kudos to them because they give a lot up for us,” said Blalock.

On Saturday, January 30th, the PHS competition cheer team took to the mats along with 50 other teams.  The team performed in the UW Arena filled with cheerleaders, family members, and judges.  The PHS cheerleaders gave it their all and placed fifth out of seven teams in their division, though two of the teams that placed higher were 4A teams.  After finishing their performance, the girls shared smiles, hugs, and tears. They were extremely proud of how hard they had worked, and their coaches felt the same way.   

“I can’t ask for any more – I asked them to shoot for the moon and they fell among the stars!” said Crowley.