From its start in 1994, competitive cheer has given tens of thousands of athletes an opportunity to present an impressive array of athleticism, stunts and enthusiasm in a competitive format, while being cheered by hundreds of thousands during one of the MHSAA’s best-attended tournament sports.
Competitive cheer has grown to include nearly 7,000 high school participants annually, with a high of nearly 7,800 in 2006-07, from more than 350 schools. The sport’s postseason, from Districts through Finals, set attendance records for 12 straight seasons through 2015, when it drew a high of 31,284 spectators across the three levels of postseason competition.
Unlike spirit formats in other states, the MHSAA’s competitive cheer format allows full teams to test their skills against each other, scoring based on difficulty and creativity among other criteria, plus the number of athletes competing for a team during each of three rounds.
Rochester High, guided during its entirety by coach Susan Wood, won the first three Class A championships and owns a record 14 Finals titles overall. Gibraltar Carlson is next with 11 titles, and Breckenridge has won 10. Grandville has won six championships, and Richmond, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Chesaning and Michigan Center all have won five.
Carlson, from 2011-16, set the record with consecutive championships, earning six straight in Division 2. Pontiac Notre Dame from 2014-18 and Rochester from 1999-2003 won five consecutive.
Rochester Adams (Division 1), Allen Park (Division 2) and Hudson (Division 4) are all enjoying current two-year championship streaks, and Richmond has won the last three Division 3 titles.
Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.
Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights
Dec. 14: Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read
(MHSAA file photo.)