Hudson competitive cheer

Competitive Cheer

Preview: Reigning Champs Could Set Saturday's Pace

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

March 26, 2021

Both divisions of Saturday's MHSAA Competitive Cheer Finals will welcome back their reigning champions, and Allen Park in Division 2 and Hudson in Division 4 have impressed again this winter. 

But there are plenty of contenders who would like to take their places, with six teams in both divisions seeking their first Finals championships in this sport. 

Spectators will be limited at Saturday's Finals, but both will be viewable with subscription on MHSAA.tv. Division 2 begins competition at 10 a.m., with Division 4 at 3 p.m. 

Here's a glance at all eight teams competing in each of those divisions:  

Division 2

ALLEN PARK
League finish: First in Downriver League.
Coach: Julie Goodwin, 16th season
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2020), four runner-up finishes.
Top score: 793.64.
Team composition: 27 total (six seniors, 10 juniors, nine sophomores, two freshmen.
Outlook: Allen Park has won two of the last four Division 2 championships and finished runner-up the other two seasons of that string and also 2016 as part of a five-year top-two run. 
The Jaguars are undefeated this winter and have topped 790 points five times. Seniors Skyler Longton and Kylee Dietz and juniors Adreanna Carone and Cassidy Kuhn made the all-state first team last season, junior Cassidy Reardon and sophomore Madisyn Setser made the second team and seniors Rayden Guthrie and Monica Karagozian earned honorable mentions.

CEDAR SPRINGS
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold.
Coach: Anne Olszewski, seventh season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 762.22.
Team composition: 20 total (six seniors, eight juniors, one sophomore, five freshmen).
Outlook: Cedar Springs finished seventh at the Finals last season and has kept building this winter improving 67 points from its first three-round competition through winning its league meet. 
The Red Hawks have scored 754 or higher in three straight competitions. Junior Josilyn Slagter earned an all-state honorable mention last season.

DEWITT
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference Blue.
Coach: Candace Heskitt, 13th season
Championship history: Division 2 runner-up in 2015 and 2007.
Top score: 778.46.
Team composition: 22 total (eight seniors, nine juniors, four sophomores, one freshman).
Outlook: The Panthers rose to third at last season’s Finals and have not finished lower than second at a competition this winter – and were only 64 hundredths of a point off the lead in finishing runner-up at their Regional. 
The majority of last season’s top achievers are leading the way again. Seniors Gabrielle Cooney and Aubrey McKinley and junior Kyleigh Greenhoe made the all-state first team last season, while junior Madailein Boyle made the second team and senior Ashley Austin and junior Anneliese Phillips earned honorable mentions.

FLINT KEARSLEY
League finish: Second in Flint Metro League.
Coach: Sierra Coughlin, first season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 756.66 at Regional.
Team composition: 21 total (eight seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, five freshmen).
Outlook: Coughlin, an all-stater at Ortonville Brandon in 2015, has Kearsley headed to the Finals in her first season. 
The Hornets have upped their overall score five straight competitions and claimed a District title along the way. Seniors Isabella Baltosser and Megan Flynn earned all-region accolades last season.

MASON
League finish: First in CAAC Red.
Coach: Angela Boerkoel, ninth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 754.5.
Team composition: 23 total (five seniors, five juniors, eight sophomores, five freshmen).
Outlook: The Bulldogs are returning to the Finals, an impressive jump after their 2020 season ended in the District. During this regular season, Mason at one point won five straight competitions including three invitationals. Senior Alexandra Erbe and juniors Karissa Burns, Madilyn Merritt and Brianna Judkins earned all-district recognition last season.  

MUSKEGON MONA SHORES
League finish: First in O-K Green.
Coach: Amanda Heethuis, 14th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 778.92.
Team composition: 28 total (seven seniors, nine juniors, eight sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: The Sailors are looking to build on their fifth place at last season’s Finals, and this will be their fifth championship meet trip in six seasons. They have won all but one competition this season, finishing second but with their second-highest overall score at their invitational. 
Junior Zoe Fetters made the all-state second team last season, while senior Brooklin Yokubonus and junior Mariah Bathrick earned honorable mentions.  

SOUTHGATE ANDERSON
League finish: Fourth in Downriver League.
Coach: Colette Norscia, 18th season
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Top score: 776.10.
Team composition: 23 total (three seniors, five juniors, 11 sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Anderson is coming off a sixth-place finish at last season’s Finals and has posted four overall sores of at least 754 and two of at least 774 – perhaps a sign of big things to come as the majority of the roster is filled with underclassmen. Senior Alexis Newman made the all-state second team last season, and senior Breanna Unis earned honorable mention.

WALLED LAKE WESTERN
League finish: First in Lakes Valley Conference.
Co-coaches: Amber Stocks, 11th season; and Michelle Frey, ninth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 788.48.
Team composition: 21 total (seven seniors, five juniors, eight sophomores, one freshman).
Outlook: Walled Lake Western was fourth in Division 2 last season and this winter has finished first in six of nine competitions with a District championship among them. The Warriors then scored their highest of the season by nearly 12 points to take second at their Regional. Senior Jordan Zayed made the all-state second team last season, with senior Jocelyn Peets and junior Alyssa Fredin earning honorable mentions.

Division 4

ADDISON
League finish: Third in Cascades Conference.
Coach: Haley Miller, first season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 727.86.
Team composition: Nine total (four seniors, four juniors, one freshman).
Outlook: Miller was part of two Finals championship teams while competing for Michigan Center last decade and took over an Addison program that finished third in Division 4 a year ago. The Panthers also finished third at their Regional this week but with their third-highest overall score of the season. Seniors Emma Spink and Reese Pickford made the all-state second team last season, and senior Marissa Douglas earned honorable mention.

ADRIAN MADISON
League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Sarah Kope, second season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 719.98.
Team composition: 12 total (two seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Madison was fourth in Division 4 last season and enters this weekend with a string of four straight overall scores between 713-720. Junior Lilian Wager made the all-state second team last season, and juniors Julia Mohr and Inessa Aranda earned honorable mentions.  

GRAND RAPIDS NORTHPOINTE CHRISTIAN
League finish: Tied for second in O-K Silver.
Coach: Sue Smith, eighth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 667.08 at Regional.
Team composition: Five total (two seniors, one junior, one sophomore, one freshman).
Outlook: NorthPointe is returning after back-to-back seventh-place Finals finishes and with its four highest overall scores this winter coming over its last four competitions. While few in number, the Mustangs stand tall with past accolades with senior Kristi Smith making the all-state first team last season, senior Malia Baugh making the second and junior Lauren Henderson earning an honorable mention.  

HART
League finish: First in West Michigan Conference.
Coach: Jennifer Hlady, 10th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 687.86 at District.
Team composition: 13 total (two seniors, one junior, five sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: With 10 underclassmen filling most of the roster, Hart repeated as league champion and finished runner-up at both its District and Regional posting two of its four highest overall scores of the season. The Pirates have finished first or second in 11 of their 13 competitions – an impressive surge for a team that saw its season end in the District a year ago.

HUDSON
League finish: First in Lenawee County Athletic Association.
Coach: Kelly Bailey, 24th season
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2020), six runner-up finishes.
Top score: 769.44.
Team composition: 20 total (six seniors, three juniors, seven sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Hudson is riding a wave of two championships in three seasons and four straight top-two finishes. The Tigers also are surging into this weekend with their two highest scores of the season coming over their last two competitions, and they have gone above 762 three times total this winter. Seniors Kaley Bloomer and Kallahan Marry and junior Maize Sholl made the all-state first team last season, while junior Logan Parks and sophomore Cheyenne Eichler made the second team and seniors Ahna Marry and Emma Shirey and sophomore Annalyse Ames earned honorable mentions.  

LAWTON
League finish: Did not compete in a league this season.
Coach: Holly James, eighth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 702.74 at District.
Team composition: Eight total (one senior, three sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: After missing a Finals trip last season by one place at Regionals, the last few weeks included a District title and have been a great achievement for an underclassmen-filled team. Senior Iliana Vigil and sophomore Mikayla Reynolds earned all-region recognition last season.

PEWAMO-WESTPHALIA
League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Staci Myers, 14th season
Championship history: Nine MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), 11 runner-up finishes.
Top score: 745.98.
Team composition: 10 total (five seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, one freshman).
Outlook: The Pirates have traded top-two finishes with Hudson the last two seasons, and fell short of a repeat by 2.2 points a year ago. But they won both their District and Regional and have finished lower than second only once this winter. Junior Lindsey Pohl and sophomore Emma Flanigan made the all-state first team last season, while senior Ellie Pohl made the second team and junior Halie Myers earned an honorable mention.

VANDERCOOK LAKE
League finish: First in Cascades Conference.
Coach: Sarah DuBois, 20th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 755.92.
Team composition: Nine total (six seniors, three juniors).
Outlook: Vandercook Lake has finished first or second at 10 of 12 competitions this winter on the way to returning to the Finals, and posted its five highest overall scores over its last five meets. The Jayhawks were second at both their District and Regional, but their score at the latter would have won the other Regional by 25 points. Seniors Kylie Baldwin and Breanna Ray both earned all-region recognition in 2020.

PHOTO: Hudson competes in Round 3 during last season's run to the Division 4 championship.